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TAS Country : September 9th 2010
8 Tasmanian Country Friday, September 10, 2010 TFGA Water investment essential TFGA matters with Jan Davis Access to high- security water is obviously more expensive than many are used to but it is unlikely that farmers would be using irrigation water for traditional dryland farming activities' I'M writing this from the National Farmers Federation annual conference in Melbourne. The final outcome of the federal election has just been announced. After more than three weeks of uncertainty, we can now get on with our lives. I will leave others to dissect the outcome: my only comment is to welcome the renewed focus on the issues that are important to rural and regional Australia, and agriculture in Tasmania in particular. It's not before time. Now we will watch to ensure the promises made are delivered. One of the key issues on the agenda at the conference was, not unexpectedly, water, though our perspective in Tas- mania is very different to the farming sector on the mainland. Tasmania is the only state where there is ongoing construction of water infrastructure. This involves investment by state and federal governments and by farmers themselves. They are actively involved in the development of new irrigation schemes that will enable expansion of agricultural activities here. It is interesting for me, as a relative newcomer to Tasmania, to listen to discussions about these new schemes at farmer meetings. I hear a lot of concern about the price of the water that will be available from the schemes. Clearly, this will be more expensive water than we have seen in the past; in some cases, it may even be more expensive than water on the mainland. However, we need to be sure we are comparing apples with apples. The water on offer through the Tasmanian Irrigation Development Board (TIDB) schemes will be 95 per cent surety --- that is, you can be sure of supply 95 per cent of the time. Very little irrigation water on the mainland approaches anything like that level of certainty. Farmers need to look at both sides of the ledger when considering any water investment. Access to high-security water is obviously more expensive than many are used to but it is unlikely that farmers would be using irrigation water for traditional dryland farming activities. This water will instead enable them to move into activities that potentially have much greater returns. So the additional cost of water must be offset against the higher returns from irri- gated farming enterprises. Ultimately the market will set the price of water and this is already happening. If the price of water is too high, the demand for it will be limited. Several of the TIDB schemes are already fully subscribed so some far- mers have clearly done their homework and are voting with their chequebooks. Tasmania's future is in making the most of our natural advantages and in diversified farming production. We have 0.9 per cent of the nation's landmass, but 14 per cent of its water; we have climate and soil conditions that are suitable for production of most agricultural com- modities; we have a relatively supportive political environment; we have some of the worlds smartest farmers. Making effective use of our valuable water resources is the key to a sustain- able future for all Tasmanians. *Sample contains 6 Gripple T- Clips. Limit 1 pack per customer. Must register on or before 30/9/10. To be eligible, you must register or be registered on the Waratah website & be an Australian resident. See website for full promotion details. TM Trademarks of OneSteel Wire Pty Limited, Ingall Street, Mayfield, NSW 2304. ABN 59 000 010 873. ONE1397/TC THE GRIPPLE® T-CLIP. TIES OFF WIRE AT THE RATE OF KNOTS. When it comes to tying off wire around strainer posts, Waratah has it covered with their latest innovation -- the Gripple T-Clip. It saves you time by eliminating the need for knotting, so get yourself some Gripple T-Clips and make short work of long fences. For more information phone 13 10 80 or visit www.onesteelwaratah.com.au R EGISTER AT www.onesteelwaratah.c om.au WHILE STOCKS LAST FREE SAMPLE* CONDITIONS APPLY
September 2nd 2010
September 16th 2010