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$32 million efficiency project boosts Far North Queensland farmland

In a boost for Far North Queensland agriculture, Sunwater has completed a $32.54 million efficiency project to enhance water delivery to more than 17,000 hectares of farmland.

Funded by the Australian Government, which contributed $11.6 million, and the Queensland Government, which provided $20.94, the Mareeba-Dimbulah Efficiency Improvement Project will bolster water security in the region. 

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure Transport and Regional Development Barnaby Joyce said the upgrades to key water infrastructure will ensure more water will be available for growers in the Atherton Tablelands.

“This project will increase access to reliable water across the region and deliver a major boost to local growers, generating around $20 million per year in increased agricultural production,” he said.

“Securing water access is game-changing for our farmers and their communities, as it creates jobs, wealth and a stronger agricultural sector.”

Modernised infrastructure

Queensland Water Minister Glenn Butcher said the project will save up to 8300 megalitres of high-value water thanks to the installation of modernised infrastructure, which will improve operating efficiency and reduce water loss.

“As Queensland’s Minister for Water, I am thrilled to see this project finalised and even happier the construction component of these water-saving works provided jobs for 18 Queenslanders,” he said.

“Queensland’s vital agricultural sector stands to benefit, as growers will be able to better service a variety of crops, including sugar cane, bananas, mangoes, avocados, coffee, tea trees and vegetables.”

Harnessing growth opportunities 

The project replaced and installed 14 km of pipeline, installed 125 automated control gates in irrigation channels, and upgraded 157 water off-takes.

The new automated channel gates measure and regulate water flow, improving the supply scheme’s ability to meet grower demand, as well as make more water available.

Senator for Queensland and Special Envoy for Northern Australia Susan McDonald said creating water security in the north will help regions and communities harness growth opportunities in agriculture. 

“We have already committed nearly $500 million to water infrastructure projects in North and Far North Queensland that will not only increase water security in established agricultural areas but also unlock agricultural opportunities in new regions, backing our economy, exports and job creation,” she said.

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