Water Agriculture

Liberal Nationals securing water to boost Victoria’s food production

29 August 2018

A Liberal Nationals Government will investigate ways to better use recycled water to make sure Victoria can feed a growing population.

As Melbourne grows to an expected population of seven to eight million people by 2050, it will need at least 60 per cent more food.

Research shows that if the city’s footprint continues to grow, population growth and urban sprawl will reduce the capacity of Melbourne’s foodbowl to meet the city’s food needs from 41 per cent to around 18 per cent by 2050.

Despite this, Labor still has no plan to better manage or meet the needs of Victoria’s growing population.

If elected in November, the Liberal Nationals will provide $1 million for a business case into establishing a new irrigation district in either Breamlea or Balliang utilising recycled water that would otherwise be sent out to sea.

Working with the communities of Breamlea and Balliang, we’ll investigate opportunities to use recycled water from existing treatment plants at Melbourne or Geelong.

The recycled water plant at Black Rock has the capacity to produce 18GL of recycled water a year, while Western Water’s plant at Melton produces 40GL a year.

The new irrigation district would expand Victoria’s agricultural productivity in the region, complimenting the successful Werribee Irrigation District which also utilises recycled water to grow crops. A lack of available land and rising land prices are holding back growers looking to expand to keep up with population growth and export demand.

Only the Liberal Nationals have a plan to invest in the future of our farmers and food manufacturers, and in turn this is an investment in the people and communities of regional Victoria.

Comment attributable to Shadow Minister for Water Steph Ryan

Under Daniel Andrews, billions of litres of usable recycled water is going to waste.

We want to use more of that water to provide new Victorian jobs, to grow industry and to keep the cost of food affordable.

Developing a new irrigation district will create new jobs and enable local growers to provide more fresh food to Victorians’ tables.

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