State government promise Victorian irrigators water security, VFF president says it's 'a step in the right direction'

File photo.
File photo.

WIMMERA farmers and instigators have been promised water security.

The state government announced that it had secured assurances from the federal government that no on-farm expressions of interest would be carried out in Victoria.

The promise will ensure no water is taken from Victorian irrigators as a part of the state’s contribution towards delivering an additional 62 gigaliters, following the approval of 605GL of environmental offset projects.

The decision was announced at the Ministerial Council meeting in Canberra on Friday. Victorian Farmers Federation president and Murra Warra farmer David Jochinke said he welcomed the promise.

“This is something we’ve been working on for quite a while,” he said.

“Any loss of water to irrigation will only cost Victoria jobs and devastate the community for the future.”

He said there was still plenty of work to be done to ensure the state’s water security.

“We’ve done the heavy lifting and are still working on a number of projects with the state government,” he said.

“It’s a good step in the right direction, but there’s still plenty of work to be done.”

Mr Jochinke said this decision would affect farmers from every sector.

“In agriculture, everything is interconnected and trickled down,” he said.

“So by ensuring our grain farmers have more irrigation security, it means that we can sell products such as hay to dairy farmers.”

Water Minister Lisa Neville said Victoria also agreed to finalise some off-farm projects that would contribute 9GL towards the 62GL requirement.

These projects will identify system losses that could be fixed through infrastructure investment.

“We’ve secured some real wins for Victorian irrigators today, ensuring no further water can be taken from irrigators and farming communities as part of our contribution to the 62GL,” she said.

“We’re standing up for Victorian irrigators to ensure no expressions of interest are carried out in Victoria for on-farm works.”