Vision In The West

Vision In The West

Western Australia Minister for Regional Development & Lands Brendon Grylls

Water Flows Into New Ord Irrigation Channel

Victor P Taffa

The State Government’s $220 Million Ord Irrigation Expansion Project reached a significant milestone in Kununurra today with water flowing into the Irrigation Channel for the first time.

Regional Development and Lands Minister Brendon Grylls along with the Miriuwung Gajerrong Chairman Teddy Carlton, marked the occasion with the opening of the gates to allow the water flow for the first time.

“The Opening of the gates today brings us another step closer to achieving our vision for a robust and dynamic East Kimberley, with Kununurra as a Major Regional Centre.” Mr. Grylls said.

With the wet season about to start, the filling of the channel with water assists to stabilise building works completed in the past six months.



The opening of the extended channel is a key milestone in the works which will include 19kms of Irrigation Channel on the Weaber Plains developed for future expansion.

The Next Stage of the Project is to Deliver Roads and Irrigation Channels to the new land releases and is due to start, subject to environmental approval from the Federal Government, in May 2011. This stage will take 360,000 man hours and two years to complete.

“This Project is a world class development which will see a Major Expansion of the East Kimberley’s Economic Base and provide great social benefits to the Region.” the Minister said

“I am particularly pleased that there has been such strong local engagement in delivery of the project and the Miriuwung Gajerrong people as Traditional Owners for this country, can deliver their future through the Ord Final-Native Title Agreement.”

“The Project has had a Peak Workforce of 180 this year, which will increase to 220 in 2011 and 2012. Our Indigenous Employment on construction has ranged from 24 % to 38 % through this year, an achievement welcomed by all concerned.” Mr. Grylls said.

The Region is already seeing benefits from the project. Earlier this year, Western Australia’s First Commercial Rice Crop in more than 27 years was successfully harvested from the irrigation area.  The Region is the world’s biggest producer of chia and has the largest standing crop of Sandalwood.

The Ord East Kimberley Expansion Project will increase the Ord Irrigation Area from 14,000ha to 22,000ha.

The $220 Million Ord Irrigation Expansion Project is funded by the State Government’s Royalties for Regions program and is complemented by $195 Million of Federal Government funding for community and infrastructure works of which a number have already begun.

The Ord Irrigation Channel is a Project of foresight that is simply lacking in New South Wales. Flood Prone Areas such as at Coffs Harbour should be considered as Part of a State-Wide Plan to introduce an Irrigation Scheme that suits the conditions in 2010 and beyond.

The 2010 Flooding in New South Wales simply highlights exactly what poor planning there is from various New South Wales Government Departments. The real value of the desalination Plant in Sydney is also questioned.

Canning the Tillegra Dam Project was a timely announcement and the worth of this project was under a cloud from Day 1.

At the same time New South Wales has flooding but on the other hand the Murray River continues to struggle.

Editor Victor P Taffa went to Victoria for the State Election that was held on 27 November 2010. After leaving Melbourne on Sunday 28 November an overnight stopover in Gundagai was planned. On Monday 29 November rain continued and had I stayed in Melbourne for another day or two my return to Sydney would have been restricted by the floods.

One of the issues that affected the fortunes of the Brumby Government was the North-South Pipeline and an expensive Desalination Plant. Taking water from areas of surplus to simply feed the North-South Pipeline seemed a ridiculous idea. The new Victoria Minister for Water is Nationals MP Peter Walsh who represents an electorate close to the Murray River.

VIC Minister for Water Peter Walsh

VIC Minister for Water Peter Walsh