Irrigators to prepare for funding opportunity

Wednesday 16 March, 2011
Northern Victorian irrigators need to act soon to tap into millions of dollars of funding being offered under Stage 2 of the Commonwealth Government’s On farm Irrigation Efficiency Program (OFIEP). 

Northern Victorian irrigators need to act soon to tap into millions of dollars of funding being offered under Stage 2 of the Commonwealth Government’s On farm Irrigation Efficiency Program (OFIEP). 

The Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority (GB CMA) is heading a consortium on behalf of the region’s irrigators, which is applying for a share of the Commonwealth’s $150 million Round 2 OFIEP  for farm improvements.  The outcome of this application is expected in mid 2011.  

In the meantime, irrigators in the Goulburn Murray Water  Service Area have until Tuesday 3rd May 2011 to prequalify for the program.  The aim is to attract millions of dollars in funding into the region to achieve water savings through improved irrigation farm infrastructure such as:  

  • Improving border check irrigation by lasering, re-use systems, outlet automation, appropriate flows, farm channel reconnections and installation of pipes and risers;
  • Installation of scheduling equipment including soil, plant or weather monitoring systems to calculate water requirements; 
  • Plastic lining of farm channels; 
  • Conversion from border check to centre pivot, linear move, fixed  sprinkler or surface and sub-surface drip irrigation; 

Chris Norman, CEO of the Goulburn Broken CMA said “a total of $21 million was allocated in the region  in 2010 under Round 1 of the program with  even more funding predicted to flow into the region in Round 2.” 

“Irrigators keen to obtain any funding available and carry out farm improvements must pre-qualify” he said. “The first step is to meet the ten eligibility criteria.”  These eligibility criteria and other information such as Frequently Asked Questions can be found on the Farm Water Program section of the Goulburn Broken CMA website. 

“This is a great opportunity for irrigators to improve their farm infrastructure and achieve increased water use efficiency and water savings” Chris Norman added.  

Minimum water savings of 20 ML must be achieved by the works with the irrigator prepared to transfer at least 10 ML to the Commonwealth Government.

Irrigators who believe they may be eligible need to contact the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) to gain assistance in the preparation of  documents and the calculation of water savings. 

Completed pre-qualification forms and supporting information must be received by DPI staff at the offices listed below by 5pm on Tuesday 3rd May 2011.  Late forms will not be accepted.  

Should the Goulburn Broken CMA received funding approval in principle from the Commonwealth Government, irrigators who have successfully prequalified will be asked to complete detailed applications for project funding.  A ballot will be held if the scheme is over-subscribed. 

“The process might seem complex, but I urge irrigators to apply. There is plenty of help available and it’s definitely worth it. In the first round, farmers in our region received on average more than  $200,000  in funding for irrigation farm works,’’  Chris Norman explained. 

Department of Primary Industries contacts are: 

Area Contact Name Location Phone Number

Central Goulburn

Chris Nicholson

DPI Tatura

(03) 5833 5932

Murray Valley

Jeremy Patt

DPI Tatura

(03) 5833 5274

North East

Dennis Watson

DPI Rutherglen

(02) 6030 4567

Loddon Valley and Torrumbarry

Kathy Long, Susan Emmett
Michelle Slater, Adam Taylor

DPI Echuca
DPI Kerang

(03) 5482 1922
(03) 5452 1266


Ingrid Stava

DPI Tatura

(03) 5833 5924


Rabi Maskey

DPI Tatura

(03) 5833 5378

Media inquiries on the Farm Water Program should be directed to

Megan McFarlane on 03 5820 1100. 

For further information please contact: 

Amanda McClaren 
Communications and Marketing Manager  
t: 03 5820 1117 / 0459 023 640
e: amandam@gbcma.vic.gov.au