Work has begun at Blessington North Esk Irrigation Scheme site

WORK BEGINS: Senator Jonathon Duniam, Primary Industries minister Jeremy Rockliff, Tasmanian Irrigation chief executive Nicola Morris and irrigator committee member Charles Watson at the North Esk Irrigation Scheme site near Blessington. Picture: Supplied
WORK BEGINS: Senator Jonathon Duniam, Primary Industries minister Jeremy Rockliff, Tasmanian Irrigation chief executive Nicola Morris and irrigator committee member Charles Watson at the North Esk Irrigation Scheme site near Blessington. Picture: Supplied

Work on the $30 million North Esk Irrigation Scheme began on Tuesday at Blessington.

Almost $19 million for the scheme comes from the federal government, with the state government contributing $4.5 million and irrigators a further $7 million.

The North Esk Irrigation Scheme will provide 4685 megalitres of high security irrigation water to the Northern Midlands and increase the irrigation footprint in the region, Agriculture and Water Resources assistant federal minister Anne Ruston said.

“Development of the North Esk Irrigation Scheme is a real game-changer for the communities of Northern Tasmania that benefit directly from agriculture,” Ms Ruston said.

“Areas of the Northern Midlands and around Launceston support a variety of agricultural enterprises and the main impediment to expansion of irrigation in the region is the limited supply of water and associated lack of reliable water,” she said.

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Up to 30 full-time equivalent jobs will be created through this irrigation scheme, Tasmanian Primary Industries and Water minister Jeremy Rockliff said.

“This North Esk Irrigation Scheme will deliver a reliable water source and allow for the expansion of horticulture, viticulture, mixed cropping and intensive livestock grazing,” Mr Rockliff said.

“Farmers are genuine partners, investing with government in the capital works as well as the additional on-farm infrastructure like dams, pipes and centre-pivots or drippers,” he said.

Work on the North Esk Irrigation Scheme follows the $30 million Duck Irrigation Scheme at Circular Head that started in February, Tasmanian Liberal senator Jonathon Duniam said.

“Both schemes are part of the coalition’s $60 million commitment to Tasmanian Irrigation Tranche II projects, which also includes $25 million towards the Swan Valley and Southern Highlands irrigation schemes,” Mr Duniam said.

“This scheme adds to Tasmania’s high-value agriculture and food opportunity,” he said.