MP: chance to grow horticulture
HORTICULTURE could be expanded in South Gippsland if redundant water reservoirs are used for irrigation, Gippsland South MLA Danny O’Brien said.
He has called on the State Government to consider the future irrigation needs of South Gippsland as the government ponders future use of redundant water supply dams.
South Gippsland Water is undertaking consultation on the future use of the Little Bass, Belleview Creek, Coalition Creek and Ness Gully reservoirs.
“With the forthcoming completion of the Lance Creek connection project which will shore up the supply of town water for Korumburra, Loch, Nyora and Poowong, these dams are no longer needed by South Gippsland Water,” Mr O’Brien said.
“We in South Gippsland have a great opportunity to encourage further horticultural development in our region.
“We’ve already seen a significant horticultural firm move out of the Cranbourne/Clyde area into our region and there is the prospect that more will come as urban pressure unfortunately encroaches on the south east.
“However, we will need to ensure that any businesses wanting to come to South Gippsland can have access to good quality irrigation water to supplement our wonderful natural rainfall and environment.
“I’m calling on the Andrews Labor Government to ensure that these four reservoirs are considered for future irrigation use.”
Mr O’Brien said he understood there were some issues with respect to dam safety standards applying to the four dams but that irrigation use is something that should be considered.
“These dams are relatively small from an irrigation perspective but could provide valuable storage and supply options for new horticultural entrants coming to our region,” he said.
“Horticulture provides significantly more return for water and land used than many other farm uses and often brings with it greater employment opportunities, particularly if we can achieve critical mass and also attract large processing facilities.”
Mr O’Brien said he has toured the dams previously and notes that some would also make fantastic recreational areas for the South Gippsland community.
“There is good opportunity for us to ensure that we get the best economic and social use out of these dams now that they are no longer needed,” he said.
“I have already raised this issue with my colleague the Shadow Minister for Water Steph Ryan and will be happy to pursue it further if we are elected to government on November 24.”
Short URL: /?p=26213