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TAS Country : March 8th 2012
Friday, March 9, 2012 Tasmanian Country 9 News Water plans on track for the future ROGER HANSON THE irrigation schemes with the biggest impact on Tasmanian primary indus- try are on track. Minister for Primary In- dustries and Water Bryan Green said the Govern- ment was nearly halfway through its ambitious irri- gation program, with the biggest project of all close to starting up. ''We are getting on with the job of delivering signifi- cant irrigation projects around Tasmania, which will set up our primary industries sector for gener- ations to come,'' he said. Mr Green said that dur- ing last year's Estimate Scrutiny Committee exam- ination of Tasmanian Irri- gation (TI), schemes had to be assessed for viability. ''Each of them has changed to some degree,'' he said. Mr Green said he was confident construction of the $88 million Midlands Irrigation Scheme -- the largest in Tasmania -- would start in the first half of this year. More than $100 million in public and private money has been invested in the schemes so far. ''Almost 300 farmers have purchased rights to the schemes, which will provide water surety and the ability to diversify and grow their business,'' Mr Green said. ''We have natural and abundant water resources, and Tasmania is leading the nation with its irri- gation development strat- egy, which is all about capitalising on our com- petitive advantage.'' Tasmanian Irrigation was created on July 1 last year as the single Tasman- ian government irrigation entity responsible for irri- gation development and operation. Work on irri- gation development for the Shannon Clyde Irrigation Scheme (SCIS) is progress- ing towards a preferred option. The SCIS project aims to deliver at least 5000ML of water into the Clyde Valley at high reliability. TI resumed work on the scheme late last year after the project was halted in February 2011 pending progress on external water management issues. TI's acting chief execu- tive Greg Stanford said work has been done with local landholders to deter- mine firm water demand and the likely extent of the scheme's layout. ''We expect to be able to present a preferred option to the community in the second quarter of this year,'' Mr Stanford said. ''The Shannon Clyde is one of a suite of regionally significant irrigation sche- mes being developed as public-private partner- ships in 12 regions.'' He said three schemes were now operating, a fourth was almost com- plete, site work had started on the fifth and construc- tion of the sixth, the Mid- lands Water Schemes, was scheduled to start in May. TI expects another four projects to move to water entitlement sales this year. ''None of the projects is a given,'' Mr Stanford said. ''Among other matters, each project must pre-sell water entitlements to a threshold level in order for the development to pro- ceed. This raises the pri- vate capital needed to con- tribute a share of construction costs.'' The capacity and layout of schemes is subject to change throughout the de- velopment cycle. ''Schemes also must pass a raft of regulatory hurdles for sustainability, and be feasible from engineering and commercial perspec- tives,'' Mr Stanford said. ''TI has never been able to commit to building every project.'' However, he said TI had been successful to date in building projects referred to it. Farmers do their last-minute sums KAROLIN MacGREGOR FARMERS in the Kin- dred and North Motton region are finalising their water requirement calculations as the dead- line for buying water in the scheme approaches. The sales period for water in the 2500ML scheme officially closes on March 15. Project manager Ian Smith said there was a significant amount of in- terest from farmers wanting to buy water. ''We're still getting lots of inquiries for offer documents and we're ex- pecting firm commit- ments and deposits to start coming through in the next couple of weeks as we get closer to the deadline,'' Mr Smith said. ''We're quite happy with how it's progress- ing at this stage.'' FLYING LEAP: Riley, a blue Border Collie, bounces off a board in a Flyball course. Flyball takes off as a sport for dogs FLYBALL is the ideal way to let your dog have fun, burn off excess energy and think it's working. Originating in the US, Flyball is grabbing a foothold in Tasmania. The unique sport is ''drag racing'' for dogs. Ros Wood, who is on the Hobart Flyball Club's committee, said one of her dogs is a reject farm dog. ''They thought he was going to be too timid to be a working farm dog and not energetic enough, but they were wrong about the latter,'' Ms Wood said. ''Just about any dog can do Flyball, and they love it. It's easier if the dog is ball-crazy, but it's not essential.'' Two teams of four dogs race over a course of four hurdles, retrieve a ball from a box, then race back to the start line. The fastest team wins. The world record for the 30m course (up and back) is just under 15 seconds. ''That's an average of a shade under four seconds for each dog.'' The Australian team record is 17.1 seconds. Demonstrations of Flyball have been held at the Royal Hobart, Hamilton and Bream Creek shows. Introductory Flyball clinics will be held at the Hobart Showgrounds on March 25, and the Westbury Showgrounds on March 31. Clinic organiser Tania Vireux said all were welcome at the clinics. ''Kay Mattingley is coming down from Sydney to run them,'' she said. ''We're hoping to use the Westbury clinic to get a Flyball club going in the North. She will also run sessions for the club's more experienced Flyball handlers, so we have a pool of people who can help train newcomers, and build up the sport in Tassie.'' For information, phone Ms Vireux on 6227 2516. Farm sector on a 30-year high AUSTRALIA's agricul- tural sector is booming -- and that's official. The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Re- source Economics and Sci- ences' (ABARES) forecast for Australia's agricultural commodities shows that for the first time in three decades, agricultural pro- fits are expected to rise across the country. The ABARES report pre- dicts farm business profits and the rate of return will be positive for all states and for all of the broadacre industries, including crop- ping and livestock. ''This is a very positive picture for Australian far- mers, compared to the drought conditions we have faced,'' National Far- mers Federation president Jock Laurie said. Own a bright future The offer to end all offers Coming to dealers January 2012 This summer s blockbuster is one you don t want to miss. 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February 23rd 2012
March 15th 2012