South East Irrigation Scheme Stage 3 was officially opened earlier today. The $33.5 million project was completed in just 18 months under Supporting More Efficient Irrigation In Tasmania.
Eric Hutchinson MP, Federal Member for Lyons cut the ribbon with the Hon. Jeremy Rockliff MP, Guy Barnett MP, State Member for Lyons, local irrigator Brad Grattidge, and John Lord, Chairman of Tasmanian Irrigation.
Mr Hutchinson congratulated Tasmanian Irrigation, the Tasmanian Government, the Tasmanian contractors and suppliers and particularly the local irrigators who have backed this scheme with their own money.
“This irrigation scheme will enable the communities of Brighton, Tea Tree, Campania, Richmond, Sorell, Orielton, Pawleena and Forcett to hold a competitive advantage.” He said. “Access to water is vital to keep up with the increase in demand for domestic and international markets.”
“We have finalised free trade agreements with Japan, Korea and China – some of our most valuable agricultural markets. These markets are seeking our safe, traceable foods.” Mr Hutchinson said.
The South East Irrigation Scheme, includes a 200 ML dam at Rekuna, 84 km of new pipeline including a 980m crossing of the River Derwent, three pump stations, 67 property outlets and three emergency access points for the Tasmanian Fire Service.
The Hon. Jeremy Rockliff highlighted the importance of the groups that worked together to make this scheme possible and to achieve such a positive result for the region.
He went on to say “Irrigation is economy building and job creating. This scheme has had 84 full-time equivalent construction jobs and will create 220 new full-time jobs and 110 full-time equivalent jobs.”
Brad Grattidge a local irrigator and chair of the irrigation committee has already seen agricultural enterprises in the region diversify and expand, with businesses able to shifting to higher-value prospects such as fresh vegetable production and the establishment of new vineyards and orchards.
Mr Eric Hutchinson MP believes this kind of innovation and agility will be essential if we are to seize the opportunities of new free trade agreements, growing international markets and the premium prices to be paid for premium produce.
FEDERAL Lyons MP Eric Hutchinson