The Federal and New South Wales Governments will join together to commit a $1 billion water infrastructure package for rural and regional communities impacted by the NSW drought.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison, New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian, Deputy Prime Minister, Michael McCormack, and Deputy Premier, John Barilaro, said both governments had been working together to fund critical water infrastructure projects, including new and expanded dam projects.

“Our response to the ongoing drought impacting rural and regional communities is comprehensive and committed. It deals with immediate needs for financial assistance and longer term investments to build drought resilience for the future,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.

“And it’s not set and forget. We are continually adding to our drought response, saying loud and clear that we’re backing Australians who are battling the drought.

“Together we’ll deliver a $650 million upgrade of Wyangala Dam in the state’s Central West and a $480 million new Dungowan Dam near Tamworth.

“Our 50/50 investment with the state government in these priority large-scale water infrastructure projects will free up NSW funding to allow them to progress critical town water projects across NSW. We want to get these projects underway because this is about water supply and security.

“These projects don’t happen overnight but we’re working as quickly as possible to get all the necessary work done so we can start digging.”

The government is also investing an initial $24 million on a 50/50 basis with NSW for the 100,000ML proposed Border Rivers project on the Mole River, near the Queensland border. This will ensure the project is shovel ready and help to identify the potential benefits that could flow on to irrigators and local communities in NSW and potentially Queensland.

This funding brings the government’s water infrastructure commitments to $1.5 billion across 21 projects that are committed or underway. This is part of more than $7 billion in drought support funding that it is already providing and have committed.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Michael McCormack, said the funding would prioritise all necessary business case development and design works.

“We are already making significant investments in water infrastructure capital projects nationwide and today’s announcement signals a major acceleration of that commitment,” Mr McCormack said.

“No one should doubt our commitment to getting these sorts of projects done in partnership with all states and territories – our $1.3 billion National Water Infrastructure Development Fund and $2 billion National Water Infrastructure Loan Facility are in place to deliver the planning, assessment and construction work needed to build the water infrastructure of the 21st century.

“These projects will fit into our strategic plan for improving regional water security through water infrastructure led by the National Water Grid Authority.”

Formalised agreements between the Federal and NSW Governments outlining the timeframes will be finalised shortly.

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