Irrigation development can boost jobs in Gippsland


30 September 2019 , – link to original article

Macalister Irrigation District production could be doubled, and irrigation along the Latrobe River increased, to help the local economy transition and create jobs.

The Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien said Gippsland and the Latrobe Valley should aim to become a powerhouse for irrigated agriculture, capitalising on reliable water availability and new opportunities to develop existing resources.

Mr O’Brien is launching a campaign for state government support to help grow jobs in new industries in the Central Gippsland region.

“There is a significant amount of water in Blue Rock Dam on the Latrobe system that is currently allocated but unused. This includes 25,000 ML for a Loy Yang power station that was never built, 14,000 ML previously allocated to Hazelwood and around 40,000 ML kept in reserve.

“That’s around 80,000 ML which is about half the current high-reliability allocation in the MID. Even putting some of that water to productive use would help create jobs and economic activity in our region.”

Mr O’Brien said this water was currently stored in Blue Rock Lake, so its use would have no impact on environmental flows or the Gippsland Lakes.

The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien, at Kilmany with Latrobe River irrigators Josie Zilm, Frankie Mills and Richard Crooke.