The Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF), the peak advocacy organisation representing the state’s irrigated agriculture, has welcomed the findings of a federal study to increase the production of food and fibre in northern Australia.
The Northern Australia Water Resource Assessment, completed by the CSIRO identified potential new water infrastructure and dams which could create almost 15,000 regional jobs and $4.85 billion in agricultural production in Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia.
QFF President Stuart Armitage said farmers and irrigators supported investment in new water infrastructure that would create further opportunities for agriculture and the regional communities the sector supports.
“QFF continues to advocate for new water infrastructure in the right regions to open up more opportunities for high value agriculture,” Mr Armitage said.
“For Queensland to continue producing world class food, fibre and foliage, agriculture must have access to reliable and affordable water, particularly in a changing climate.”
“But critical to the success of any dams to be built in the Mitchell catchment, which the report claims has the potential to support 140,000ha of year-round irrigated agriculture, is the issue of decreasing water affordability.”
“To build new infrastructure without first rectifying the current issue of water affordability for agriculture may undermine the intention to create regional jobs and increase agricultural productivity.”
“It is also important that the construction of new water infrastructure does not distract from the need to upgrade, improve and increase efficiencies in existing irrigation schemes throughout the state.”