Govts pledge $396m to address salinity

THANKS to a joint announcement from the State and Federal governments, the South West has received much-needed assistance to tackle issues with salinity.

Led by Collie Water, the $396 million Myalup-Wellington project was designed to reduce salinity in Wellington Dam and expand irrigated agriculture production in Harvey and Waroona.

The Liberal-National Government pitched in $190m to support the project, while the State Government provided $37m.

Collie Water and private investors added $169m.

Visiting the South West and the West Australian College of Agriculture in Harvey for the announcement, Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said it was a “significant economic development project” and would benefit the region for generations to come.

“Federal Member for Forest Nola Marino has fought hard to get this project up and running,” he said.

“It goes to show what you can do when you get both tiers of government – as well as private investors – working for the common good.

“There are so many small business operators and farmers that are going to benefit from this project.” Mr McCormack affirmed changes would include a new private desalination facility, improvements to Burekup Weir, an increase in the area of timber plantations in the upper Wellington Dam, and new methods of providing irrigation water to Myalup.

Mrs Marino said local companies would be sourced to assist with construction efforts for the Myalup-Wellington project as well as the Southern Forest Irrigation Scheme.

“I have no doubt the proponents will be key for engaging local businesses and local suppliers,” she said.

“Mr McCormack and I are both committed to rural and regional projects just like this one.” WA Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan and Water Minister Dave Kelly gave their full support to the project, ensuring it would help many farmers and businesses.

“This marks the formal start of the Collie Water project, it’s a massive initiative in dealing with salinity in the region and ensuring we have got a future for horticulture and agriculture in the South West and Peel regions,” Ms MacTiernan said.

“We have had massive problems with salinity that have been building up over the last 50 years.

“With the help of our friends in the Commonwealth, we have been able to devise a project to help alleviate this problem and allow for the expansion of horticulture in this region.” Ms MacTiernan confirmed the project’s development would take place over the next five years.

Source: Bunbury Mail