South East irrigation scheme moves a step closer Thu 31 May 2012 Bryan Green Deputy Premier The $40 million South East Irrigation Scheme on the outskirts of Hobart has moved a step closer to reality. The Minister for Primary Industries and Water Bryan Green said today the scheme could potentially create more than 500 jobs through millions of dollars worth of investment in high value agricultural crops. Mr Green said the business case for the project had been approved and water from the scheme will soon be offered to farmers. "The scheme will provide a great opportunity to build on the expansion we have already seen in the Coal Valley and deliver enormous economic benefits for the region and the broader Tasmanian economy," Mr Green said. Mr Green said the project would more than double the amount of irrigation water in the south east. "It has the potential to expand the irrigable area by 25,000 hectares and significantly increase the land available to grow high value perennial horticultural crops. "There is already a lot of knowledge and expertise in the region, it has the right climate and soils and all that is needed is water. Mr Green said the scheme would provide 5000 megalitres of water a year through 50 km of buried pipeline via a new Derwent River crossing just north of the Bridgewater Bridge through Brighton and to the Craigbourne Dam. "An additional network of about 45 km of distribution pipelines are planned to take the water from Campania through Orielton and Sorell to as far east as Forcett. It is estimated that around 370 direct farm jobs would be created plus an additional 185 indirect jobs. Mr Green said approval of the business case cleared the way for the project to move to the next phase. "The project has to meet a water sales threshold and is still subject to regulatory permits and approvals. Mr Green said the south east scheme was another significant part of the Government's State-wide irrigation development strategy. "Construction of our biggest ever irrigation project in the Midlands is about to start and work is progressing on a number of other major schemes. "The Government is now well over half way through our irrigation expansion program which is providing confidence and delivering opportunities to grow our agricultural sector. "We already have six schemes complete or under construction and a further four at various stages of development. Mr Green said the partnership between the State and Federal Governments and the private sector would deliver $400 million of irrigation investment. "This is a marvellous public-private partnership which is generating benefits above and beyond putting pipes in the ground and supplying reliable water to farms. "We have a tremendous competitive advantage in water and Tasmania is leading the nation in developing new and sustainable irrigation schemes," Mr Green said.