On 19 November 2018, the Australian Government announced an expansion of the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund by more than half a billion dollars.
The expansion includes a number of specific commitments intended to ensure the delivery of new and affordable water, enhance water security and help stimulate regional economic development through primary industries and new and expanded agriculture. The commitments include:
up to $250,000 to co-fund the establishment of management arrangements, finalisation of the design and completion of the regulatory and statutory approval processes needed for the Coldstream Recycled Water Pipeline to progress to construction (VIC)
up to $1 million to co-fund the completion of the regulatory approval processes, including the final business case, design and Environmental Impact Statement, required for the Southern Forest Irrigation Scheme to progress to construction (WA)
up to $2 million for a feasibility study to assess options to build new water infrastructure to increase water supply and security in the North and South Burnett regions (QLD)
up to $54 million for Hells Gates Dam including Rig Rocks Weir (QLD)
up to $182 million for the Hughenden Irrigation Scheme (QLD)
This brings the National Water Infrastructure Development fund up to over $1 billion to build the water infrastructure of the 21st century.
Funding from the Fund is only available to state and territory governments through bilateral schedules in accordance with the Federal Financial Regulations Act 2009. Applications are open for Expressions of Interest (EOI) from state and territory governments for funding under the drought round of the fund.
The Fund consists of two components; the Capital Component, which will provide co-funding contributions to support the construction of water infrastructure projects that will provide secure and affordable water, and the Feasibility Component, which will support feasibility studies to accelerate the planning and business case development necessary to inform future water infrastructure investment decisions.
The Fund is helping to deliver on the Australian Government’s $3 billion commitment to developing Australia’s water infrastructure in the coming years, with an additional $2 billion pledged through the National Water Infrastructure Loan Facility.