The Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF) has welcomed the Federal Government’s announcement that it will match the State Government’s financial commitment and jointly fund the construction of the Rookwood Weir in central Queensland.
QFF President Stuart Armitage said the Rookwood Weir would create further opportunities for high value agriculture and the regional communities the industry supports.
“This announcement is a positive step towards increasing water security for farmers and the businesses in the towns that service our sector in central Queensland.
“Access to reliable water underpins Queensland farmers’ ability to continue producing world class food, fibre and foliage, and it is key to driving agricultural productivity.
“But critical to the success of the Rookwood Weir and similar water infrastructure is the issue of decreasing water affordability.
“The reality is that if the new infrastructure is priced at the existing offering many farmers will be locked out of accessing it.
“Both governments have stated they want to ensure farmers can use this water, which will require ongoing cooperation and consistent policy objectives.
“At a state level, the Queensland Government is currently proposing to remove the clearing provisions for irrigated high value agriculture through the vegetation management bill currently before the parliament, which will make it harder for farmers to adapt their businesses to take advantage of available water.”
While new infrastructure in the right regions was important for high value agriculture, QFF stressed that it must not come at the expense of previous water infrastructure investments.
“It is important that the construction of new water infrastructure like the Rookwood Weir does not distract government from the need to upgrade, improve and increase efficiencies in existing irrigation schemes throughout the state,” Mr Armitage said.
This aricle was published on www.qff.org.au.