FARMERS have welcomed the transfer of the SunWater St George channel scheme to the irrigator-owned company Mallawa Irrigation.
After St George channel irrigators accepted an offer for the channel assets to be transferred from SunWater in March 2018, Mallawa Irrigation has taken over ownership and management of the scheme and become the first significant Local Management Arrangement (LMA) in Queensland.
Queensland Farmers Federation president Stuart Armitage welcomed the transition as the final step towards empowering the St George community to manage and grow irrigated agriculture in the local region.
“QFF has been advocating for the implementation of locally managed irrigation schemes for many years, so it is encouraging that the first of the SunWater channel schemes has now successfully transitioned,” Mr Armitage said.
“This move gives local irrigators direct responsibility and control of key water infrastructure comprising of 112km of pipelines and channels, and distribution to around 50 customers irrigating 10,000 hectares of land.”
Mr Armitage congratulated Mallawa Irrigation chairman Luke Stower and the board for successfully managing the transition of operations and control from SunWater to local management.
“QFF also commends the Queensland Government for understanding the importance of moving forward with locally managed irrigation schemes,” he said.
“Importantly, government must continue to support these schemes through joined up agricultural policies, including appropriate land use planning that has challenged the viability of some schemes across the state.”
“It has been a long, six-year process so far and we look forward to the successful transition of the Theodore, Emerald and Eton schemes should irrigators in those regions choose LMA.”
The story SunWater St George hands over ownership to Mallawa Irrigation first appeared on Queensland Country Life.