Just add cheaper water - Growing agriculture in Queensland

October 26, 2020

Irrigation water costs for thousands of Queensland farmers will be cut by up to 50 per cent to grow jobs under a re-elected Palaszczuk Labor Government.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk today said Labor would invest $50 million to slash irrigation water bills across the state.

“Agriculture is one of Queensland’s traditional economic strengths, and our farm businesses will help underpin our economic recovery,” the Premier said.

“Reducing irrigation water costs means more crops, more jobs and more value.

“A re-elected Labor Government will ensure lower water charges - in a way that has been costed, funded, and will be delivered.

“Our commitment is guaranteed and watertight, unlike the LNP who have only promised an accounting trick, not any actual savings.”

Labor’s commitment will deliver:

● a 15 per cent cut in irrigation water charges for the 6,400 farmers who buy water from Queensland’s 35 state-owned irrigation schemes. This includes broad-scale crops like sugarcane.

● a 50 per cent cut – half-price water - for fruit and vegetable growers, recognising the number of harvesting and picking jobs this could create.

The Premier said the price drops would start from 1 July next year – following on the heels of the Palaszczuk Government’s existing water price relief measures.

“My Government has already frozen water prices for this year and absorbed dam safety costs as part of our ongoing measures to provide COVID relief for Queensland business and industry.

“By investing $27 million into Queensland irrigation schemes over three years, will deliver a 15 per cent reduction in water bills for all irrigators.

“Another $23 million will deliver half-price water for fruit and veg growers, helping to stimulate jobs in this labour-intensive sector.”

Natural Resources, Mines and Energy Minister Anthony Lynham said this announcement will be a gamechanger for agriculture.

“This will make a real difference to farmers from Mareeba to Cunnamulla to Yelarbon.

“For our fruit and veg growers, it means increased productivity and profitability, and more jobs on their farms.

“The Palaszczuk Labor Government has committed $1.2 Billion to water infrastructure since 2017, to provide water security and growth opportunities for our farmers.

“We have also guaranteed that water assets will remain in the people of Queensland’s hands.

“In contrast, the LNP invested nothing in their three disastrous years and their Costello Report recommended all investment in water infrastructure be left to the private sector.”

Labor candidate for Burdekin Mike Brunker said Labor has also made local agriculture an election priority with commitment to build an Agricultural Centre of Excellence at Bowen TAFE.

“That’s about the primary industries jobs of the future,” Mr Brunker said.

“This great new policy to help producers with water costs will make a difference right now.”