Senate debates

Tuesday, 19 October 2021

Statements by Senators

National Water Week

1:32 pm

Photo of Wendy AskewWendy Askew (Tasmania, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

[by video link] Leonardo da Vinci said, 'Water is the driving force of all nature.' None of us could survive without water. It is a vital ingredient in our daily lives, and our greatest resource. This week is National Water Week, so I want to highlight the role water plays in my home state. Tasmania has some of the best drinking water in the world. Besides this, and the obvious water and sewerage services we all rely on, Tasmania's water resources have been used effectively to grow the state's economy. This includes the hydropowered stations that play a major part in delivering 100 per cent renewable energy to the state, as well as having an irrigation scheme envied across the nation.

State-owned company Tasmanian Irrigation was established to manage water assets like dams, irrigation schemes and river works. The irrigation scheme operates on a joint public-private funding model between irrigators and state and federal governments to deliver irrigation infrastructure and water around the state. By 2025, Tas Irrigation will manage an infrastructure portfolio valued at more than $680 million that can deliver almost 170,000 megalitres of water via 1,451 kilometres of pipeline, 55 pump stations, 24 dams and three power stations. This means better productivity, efficiency, sustainability and growth, not just for the high-quality agricultural produce Tasmania is so well known for, but also jobs in our design, engineering, earthmoving, construction and civil firms.

In partnership with states and territories, the Australian government is investing $3.5 billion towards a 10-year rolling program of water infrastructure projects, such as the Tasmanian irrigation scheme. These projects will supply billions of litres of water for productive use each year, and enhance the national water grid, growing Australian agriculture, increasing water security, building resilience to drought and supporting regional prosperity. Water really is our most valued resource.