A powerful Nationals WA delegation – headed by Leader Mia Davies – is in Canberra today as part of the Party’s continued push to secure funding for two key irrigation projects in the South West.
Ms Davies, Terry Redman and Colin Holt will champion the merits of the Myalup-Wellington project and Southern Forests Irrigation Scheme (SFIS) in meetings with Barnaby Joyce, the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport and David Littleproud, the Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources.
The representations come ahead of an impending decision on recipients in the next round of the National Water Infrastructure (NWI) Development Fund.
“Whilst in Government, The Nationals were the driving force behind these two important regional projects,” Ms Davies said.
“As Water Minister in the former Liberal-National Government, I had a series of meetings with Mr Joyce about these two projects and the benefits each will deliver for regional WA. Today is about continuing that advocacy.”
While in Government, The Nationals WA committed $37 million for Myalup-Wellington and $19 million for SFIS through Royalties for Regions, but the projects require Federal support to get out of the ground.
“With crunch time fast approaching for the funding announcement, The Nationals are making it our business to ensure these projects receive the face-to-face advocacy they deserve in Canberra’s corridors of power,” Ms Davies said.
“Given both the major party’s reluctance to fix WA’s absurd GST share, allocating funding for these two projects would provide a glimmer of hope that Canberra still cares what happens west of the Nullabor.”
Mr Holt, The Nationals Member for South West, said securing the Mylaup-Wellington project would transform the region’s economy for decades to come.
"The project is expected to deliver billions of dollars' worth of extra agricultural, horticultural and forestry revenue over 50 years and create jobs," Mr Holt said.
“We have come to Canberra armed with three former Ministers – including a former Minister for Water and Minister for Regional Development – to make sure these projects remain at the forefront of the mind of the key decision makers.”
Mr Redman’s Warren-Blackwood electorate takes in the SFIS and said the initiative was a genuine game-changer.
“The Southern Forests area is already one of the most significant horticultural areas in the southern half of the State generating an estimated $138 million in 2013,” Mr Redman said.
“This investment will substantially increase water security and horticultural opportunities in the region, and involves the construction of a new 15 gigalitre dam, pipeline and pumping infrastructure.
“The scheme would allow the capture of water in winter, to be redistributed in winter and summer, to sites that currently do not have access to sufficient high-quality water, or do not have the capacity to capture water.”