Tuesday, 23 February 2016
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Deputy Prime Minister—congratulations, sir—and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources. Will the Deputy Prime Minister update the House on the water infrastructure developments currently underway in my home state of Tasmania?
I thank the honourable member for his question. The honourable member for Lyons has the biggest seat in Tasmania, which is also known, amongst other things, for its hydropower generation capacity. As the member for Lyons knows, it is great to be part of a government that believes in the construction of dams, that believes this nation can take the next step forward and construct further dams—
Mr Fitzgibbon interjecting—
because we know that the turnaround that we have delivered in the soft commodity market, where we are getting record prices for so many products—I acknowledge the prices that they are currently getting for the cherry crop which has been coming off in Tasmania—has to be supported with further water infrastructure. It is great to be part of a government which, since it has been in, has completed the Lower South Esk Irrigation Scheme, the Kindred North Motton Irrigation Scheme, the Midlands Water Scheme, the Upper Ringarooma Irrigation Scheme, the South East Irrigation Scheme and the Dial Blythe Irrigation Scheme. These have all been completed while we have been in government. It is good now to be part of a government that goes on with $120 million of further irrigation projects.
What these do is to acknowledge the contribution by the Commonwealth and also the contributions by the state and by private investment. It makes sense that we would be investing in a state that, even though it is only one per cent of our nation's land mass, receives 13 per cent of the nation's rainfall. This continues to be built on, and our correspondence with the Deputy Premier, Jeremy Rockliff, means that we are doing everything to make sure that we roll forward this further tranche of irrigation.
Our belief in irrigation not only goes to Tasmania. Very soon we will be completing Chaffey Dam—we are in the final pours of concrete for Chaffey Dam. Chaffey Dam was started whilst I was the member and will be completed whilst I am the water minister. It sits on the back of further irrigation as we put forward the $25 million that we have put aside. We have over 50 applicants for further assessment for further water projects.
The other side might talk about dams—they just never built them. They just never built them! They never completed. They are scared of it—they are tied to the Greens! And when they are tied to the Greens their fascination resides in other places.
Mr Husic interjecting—
Their belief in agriculture is such that they have agriculture sitting at the edge of the bench—it is only just there! But in this government agriculture is in the middle. (Time expired)