States urged to nominate projects for Off-farm Efficiency Program

9 August 2021

Minister for Resources and Water Keith Pitt today called on Murray–Darling Basin states to nominate infrastructure projects through the Off-farm Efficiency Program, which can generate water savings for the environment without taking water from farmers.

“There’s $1.33 billion available to fund projects that generate water savings off-farm through the State Led Off-farm stream that will count towards the 450 GL of water the Basin Plan requires to deliver enhanced environmental outcomes,” Minister Pitt said. 

“I acknowledge that generating 450 gigalitres of water savings by 2024 is a tall order – but my commitment is to push as hard as we can to make our irrigation networks as efficient as possible.

“Working with the states on this sort of infrastructure agenda will generate jobs, improve delivery of water to farms, and increases water available for growing crops – all while contributing towards the target.

“Saving water this way is a win for farmers and for the environment.

“Through the Off-Farm Efficiency Program, we are making $1.33 billion available for state-led off-farm projects, as well as $ $60 million for the State Led On-farm stream.

“And we’re consulting on the $150 million Off-farm Efficiency Grants Program so that Murray–Darling Basin communities have a say about the sort of projects and the sort of entities that could qualify for funding under the direct grant component of the program.

“We need to talk to those who own and operate off-farm irrigation infrastructure – it’s important that we check that the thinking done in Canberra office blocks will work on the ground.

“These grants are aimed at those projects at the smaller end of the infrastructure spectrum that may not be brought forward by the states for funding.

“I look forward to receiving project proposals from the Basin states and thank them for their cooperation in establishing this program. 

“Consultation on the direct grant program is open for 10 business days, closing on Friday, August 20.” Minister Pitt said.

Visit the Have Your Say web survey or the department’s website for more information.