SA Liberals call on State Government to let $90 million of water funding flow

The State Liberals are calling on the Weatherill Labor Government to put forward a tangible business case to access more than $90 million in Commonwealth irrigation funding which has been untouched since 2011.

The Private Irrigation Infrastructure Program for South Australia (PIIP-SA) was created in 2009 with $110 million allocated to the program and almost $20 million was expended in the early rounds.

The State Liberals are calling on the Weatherill Labor Government to put forward a tangible business case to access more than $90 million in Commonwealth irrigation funding which has been untouched since 2011.

The Private Irrigation Infrastructure Program for South Australia (PIIP-SA) was created in 2009 with $110 million allocated to the program and almost $20 million was expended in the early rounds.

During a Senate Estimates hearing in 2014, it was revealed that there “has been no interest from the South Australian Government in having a third round run under PIIP-SA” despite approaches to do so by the Commonwealth Government.

Acting Shadow Minister for Water and the River Murray Tim Whetstone said South Australia cannot afford to have such a substantial amount of funding to benefit food producers remaining untouched.

“South Australian irrigators are among the most efficient in the world and food producers are continually adapting to new technology and improving efficiency,” Mr Whetstone said.

“More than $90 million earmarked for South Australia has been sitting stagnant in the Commonwealth Government coffers despite a number of approaches to the Weatherill Labor Government to commence third round funding.

“The Commonwealth has also requested the Weatherill Goverment suggest alternative projects for the available fund given their reluctance to run a third PIIPSA funding round, yet there has been very little action despite the SA Liberals calling on the Government to do so.

“I’m calling on the State Government to put forward a business case to access the PIIP-SA funding and provide irrigators with the opportunity to improve their businesses, create jobs and boost the economy,” Mr Whetstone said.

Prior to the 2014 election, the SA Liberals committed to working with the Commonwealth Government to implement another PIIP-SA round.

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