The McGowan Government has hit back at the Federal Government for bypassing “critical Western Australia projects” in its Future Drought Fund, claiming was a lost opportunity for WA farmers.
The Morrison Government announced projects that would benefit from the fund’s first $100 million round on Wednesday but it would not include any from WA.
WA had submitted four high priority projects for consideration for the funding.
Projects had including research and development to regenerate degraded and dehydrated lands, projects to prove and promote on-farm desalination, a boost to strategic community water supplies in the grainbelt and support for horticulture on the Gnangara Mound.
Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud did not include the projects on WA’s priority list, instead funding “a range of planning exercises, training programs and networking opportunities.”
WA Agriculture Minister Alannah MacTiernan said it was a missed chance, especially for farmers.
“The projects we proposed offered real, on-the-ground solutions to long-term, systemic dry conditions across WA’s pastoral and agricultural regions,” Ms MacTiernan said.
“These projects would make a difference for WA farmers, pastoralists and regional communities.”
“Unfortunately, it is difficult to see this first $100 million allocation helping to solve the chronic drought issues facing our farmers.”
Water Minister Dave Kelly said the Federal Government had again ignored the needs of WA.
“This is a disappointing outcome for WA farmers and for regional communities, who know that climate change is drying out our State and who are looking for long-term solutions,” Mr Kelly said.
However, he said that the State Government would continue to push for projects that it said would deal with systemic dry conditions in WA.
“We will continue to fight for a fair share of drought and water infrastructure funding for WA, to deliver the support and change our State needs as the impacts of climate change worsen,” Mr Kelly said.