When I travel throughout our region, it’s hard not to be proud of our agriculture sector.
Kilometres of farming properties stretching in every direction, small towns that are boosted by the industry, and clean and green produce that competes on the world stage. By 2050, forecasts predict the global population will increase by two billion people, and experts say food needs will double – this is a massive opportunity for our region.
Goulburn-Murray Water (GMW) has a significant role to play in supporting the agriculture sector, through our irrigation delivery system that ensures a fair, affordable and efficient system now and for decades to come.
We manage Australia’s largest irrigation delivery network, and with the completion of the $2 billion Connections Project in 2020, there are now greater efficiencies in water delivery and use for our customers.
Irrigated agriculture in northern Victoria generates more than $6 billion of production value every year, and directly supports more than 10,000 jobs in the Goulburn-Murray Irrigation District (GMID).
The Australian Bureau of Statistics May 2020 Labour Force Survey showed that our region accounts for a significant percentage of all people employed in the agriculture, forestry and fishing sector Victoria-wide – 10 per cent in the Shepparton and North West regions, and 12 per cent in the Hume region.
The land in our region is fertile, internationally renowned, and connected to a world-class water delivery system.
The GMID the largest irrigation system in Victoria and accounts for more than 70 per cent of water stored in Victoria.
We have a long history of being able to provide annual water allocations thanks to our water resource management, and our fully-automated water delivery system supports farmers using this agricultural land.
Customers are able to self-manage their orders and usage, and have access to a water planner 24 hours a day, seven days a week, during the irrigation season.
GMW is committed to supporting investment in our region – we know we have the best irrigation delivery system in the world. Our communities are evolving and changing in a number of ways, and agricultural investment plays a significant part in that.
At GMW, our business too must continue to evolve to meet modern-day challenges in supporting regional development and securing future prosperity. We are saving $20 million in operating costs annually, passing on those savings to our customers with an average 10 per cent reduction in prices for many of our customers.
I’m proud of our region, and I want to see strong partnerships across the agriculture sector into the future. GMW has an important role in supporting investment and ensuring our region is home to the best food and fibre producers in the world.
The last 12 months have been unprecedented – for our local communities, businesses and our farmers. While I am hopeful, I am also pragmatic. Long term vision and plans don’t just happen overnight. It requires difficult conversations, listening to different viewpoints and needs, and finding common ground and opportunity. Opportunity will be key to our success now and into the future. Opportunity to partner, opportunity to innovate, opportunity to support and most importantly opportunity to celebrate our region.
We will continue to be part of the community for years to come, contributing to a bright future and a prosperous region.