QUEENSLAND’S irrigated agriculture industries will benefit from continued productivity improvements and responsible management of water thanks to the State Government investing another $2 million in a critically important program.
The 2017-18 Rural Water Use Efficiency Initiative (RWUEI) will provide grants and assistance for farmers across a number of industries to help with keeping water on-farm and also meeting natural resource management outcomes.
Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF) President, Stuart Armitage, welcomed the continuation of funding for RWUEI, but expressed the sector’s concern over funding uncertainty post 2017-18 with farmers being subject to increasing water-use challenges from climate change.
“Queensland irrigators have been subject to and continue to implement wide-scale reform to water use that has seen structural adjustments in the irrigation sector. This has included significant capital investments by farmers and the adoption of water saving infrastructure and practices, and the importance of metering,” said Mr. Armitage.
“Farmers understand the simple economic benefits that come from minimising costs, increasing efficiencies and improving productivity.
“Governments must accept and acknowledge the role of irrigated agriculture in supplying food, fibre, foliage and increasingly fuel; and the income it generates, particularly in regional communities post 2017-18.
“For an efficient and viable agricultural sector in Queensland to continue to operate and grow, it needs to be supported through a continuation of policy and projects like RWUEI long into the future.”
QFF industry members funding breakdown:
• $709,500 in funding to work on rising groundwater challenges across the Lower Burdekin, Arriga Plains and on-farm irrigation assessments in the Pioneer and other irrigated areas.
• $100,000 in financial incentives for the uptake of technologies and services with demonstrated Water Use Efficiency value linked to uptake of Best Management Practice and training.
Queensland Dairyfarmers’ Organisation (QDO)
• $308,625 to assist dairy farmers and fodder growers in the priority areas of the Callide Valley, Lockyer Valley, the Queensland reaches of the Murray-Darling Basin and where other areas are identified through the use of proven extension methodologies, previous program delivery, new technology, on-farm advisory services, and targeted financial assistance.
• $300,000 in assistance to support horticulture growers implement improved water resource and energy efficiency practices through farm action planning, decision support tools and on-farm technical support and training in the Granite Belt and eastern Darling Downs where growers are experiencing reduced water allocations.
Nursery and Garden Industry Queensland (NGIQ)
• $200,000 to drive incremental improvements and whole-of-farm change through assessment, planning and upgrades to irrigation infrastructure and practice in five priority areas of Wet Tropics, Mackay/Whitsunday, Dry Tropics, Granite Belt/Downs and Lockyer Valley.
Flower Association of Queensland
• $61,000 for on-farm irrigation assessments, technical advice, case studies and their promotion in Great Barrier Reef catchments.