Irrigators may have to give up more than half of their water entitlements to have their farm revamped under the next round of the Federal Government’s On-Farm Irrigation Efficiency Project.CATHY WALKER December 26, 2012 5:00am
Irrigators will have to decide how much water they can part with in return for government infrastructure upgrades.
The consortium led by Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority did not win funding in round three of the scheme despite passing all five merit criteria, with a number of those acknowledged as being above average.
Authority chief executive Chris Norman went to Canberra last week and came home a little the wiser, if no happier, after bureaucrats from SEWPAC gave high credit to the project management track record of GBCMA.
‘‘It’s been a very hard process to understand, but this time they gave us a bit more information,’’ Mr Norman said.
But the bottom line was ‘‘to increase our competitiveness it would have been necessary for us to increase the percentage of the water savings transferred out of the region to the Commonwealth, beyond the 50 per cent proposed’’.
‘‘It’s an issue irrigators will have to grapple with now,’’ Mr Norman said.
‘‘In developing a future application, we will be seeking feedback from our regional irrigators as to whether they are prepared to increase the proportion of water savings transferred.’’
He said the GBCMA’s bid had been ranked in order with other bids, according to the Commonwealth’s value for money assessment process, after which it drew a line when the available pool of money — $100
That appears to mean the more water given up, the better deal the Commonwealth perceives it is getting, but Mr Norman said the SEWPAC officials ‘‘didn’t share with us how they determine value for money’’.
Mr Norman said in pulling the round three bid together there had been extensive consultation with irrigator groups and individuals including telephone interviews.
‘‘The criticism we get is that we don’t talk to all irrigators,’’ Mr Norman said.
‘‘There will always be some irrigators who say ‘well you didn’t ask me’ but we did consult all the various irrigator groups and did a phone around of some individuals. Fifty per cent seemed to be what they were comfortable with.’’
Mr Norman said the consortium proposal was based on a reasonable cost share between irrigators and government.
‘‘The consortium supported the irrigators’ views in trying to balance regional development objectives, production benefits and environmental gains, to the amount of water leaving the region,’’ he said.
VFF water council chairman Richard Anderson said he was disappointed the GBCMA missed out on any funding in this round.
Mr Anderson said the CMA and its partners had good knowledge of the Foodbowl Modernisation Project and were well-placed to ensure the projects could be co-ordinated.
‘‘It seems strange they didn’t get any money.’’
Water has been returned to Kinnairds and Black wetlands to help with their revitalisation after bushfire damaged them in February.
More than 2200 people have signed up to show their support for a campaign to have the green route chosen for the new Yarrawonga Mulwala bridge.
Members of Murchison Book Club are hosting a literary lunch with Vivien Achia, author of Marrying Italian — When Love is Not Enough.
Matches were split up over Good Friday and Easter Saturday throughout the region.
Painter Ben Winspear and Scott Wileman will create new works as the public look on during the at Rochester Art Exhibition.
Kyabram Bombers have the chance to beat Rochester under light for the first time this Friday evening.
Lions star recruit had a tough introduction to the GVFL.
Tocumwal's Don Elgin is aiming to compete at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Scotland
Eighty residents at a forum determined the Heathcote Community Plan was on track but need some fine tuning.
Cobram skate park hosts skateboarding and music for youth week.
Senior state minister Adrian Piccoli reaquainted himself with Deniliquin yesterday, leaving Deniliquin Counil hopeful it has an ally in him.
With his blue eyes and snow-coloured coat, Nanneella horse Sinatra has looks worthy of a fairytale.
Fourteen-year-old Benalla girl Jaimee Linke will launch her debut novel next month.
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