Federal Election 2019: Funds promised to investigate water recycling for growers

Politicians at the Nowergup rally with North Wanneroo Residents Association chairman Mark Zagar (centre).
Politicians at the Nowergup rally with North Wanneroo Residents Association chairman Mark Zagar (centre).

LABOR has promised $500,000 to investigate a sustainable water solution for growers if elected on May 18.

ALP candidate for Pearce Kim Travers announced the Federal Election funding promise at a rally in Nowergup, hosted by North Wanneroo Residents Association.

Ms Travers said growers in the area were struggling and Labor wanted to help develop a sustainable solution as a drying climate creates water supply problems that could threaten Perth’s food security.

The State Government has allocated $720,000 towards a water use efficiency program and developing a business case for an agri-precinct in State Forest 65, east of the Carabooda-Nowergup-Neerabup farming regiona, that could incorporate the use of recycled water.

If elected, Labor has promised to support that with $500,000 to develop a technical solution and business case for a sustainable water supply scheme and establish a grower’s cooperative to maintain and grow the North Wanneroo irrigated agricultural industry.

Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan, Labor candidate for Pearce Kim Travers and Wanneroo MLA Sabine Winton.

The association held the May 5 rally to campaign against a proposed 10 per cent reduction in groundwater allocations, expected to take effect in 2028 and call for planning changes.

Chairman Mark Zagar said it was disappointing the State Government wanted to take water away from growers without compensation.

“They are funding the study of the future agricultural precinct (but) that’s not good to us if we are all broke,” he said.

Mr Zagar said they hoped to meet with Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan, who attended the rally, to discuss the “better plan” rural landowners were advocating for.

He said they had also asked federal candidates for Pearce to support their bid for WA to join the National Water Initiative, which would compensate people if their water licence was cancelled.

“We have to keep fighting; our livelihoods and family assets are at risk of being devastated,” Mr Zagar said.

Wanneroo MLA Sabine Winton said the 2019-20 State Budget included extra funding to support the agricultural sector

“McGowan Government is showing its commitment to the sector by providing an additional $131.5 million to support agriculture, grow export markets and create jobs in the sector throughout the state,” she said.

The group is also advocating for a link from Wanneroo Road to the Mitchell Freeway and Lukin Drive through the freeway extension project to Romeo Road.

The State Budget included $215 million for the 5.6km extension project, which does propose a connection from Wanneroo Road to the freeway via Romeo Road

“This is a key piece of infrastructure making the intersection of Wanneroo Rd and Romeo Rd safe and connect us to the rail, schools and shops,” Ms Winton said.

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