Macalister Fresh is a region-building water strategy that will deliver a vision and plan to drive future investment in Gippsland.
Over the past decade, Southern Rural Water, the Victorian Government and the Australian Government through the National Water Grid Fund have invested in a $160 million program of modernisation works across the Macalister Irrigation District.
Works on the final phase of modernisation will be complete by 2024. With this, we have an opportunity to maximise the benefits of this investment. Macalister Fresh will identify more water savings, deliver best practice irrigation, find innovative solutions to emerging challenges and drive future investment in the region.
The $660,000 Macalister Fresh project, funded by the Victorian Government and Southern Rural Water, will be delivered over 18 months in four phases.
Phase one involves collaborating and co-designing a vision for the region with customers and our key partners.
Designing principles for use and distribution of water savings, decision making frameworks, project prioritisation and project pipeline will also be developed with customers and key partners as part of phases two and three of the project.
Phase four of the Macalister Fresh project will deliver an investment prospectus that will identify the value of reliable and secure rural water management in Gippsland, and investment opportunities.
How we will involve customers and stakeholders in the process
We will work with customers, stakeholders and the community to develop a shared vision of what the future looks like and how we realise opportunities that deliver economic, environmental and cultural benefits for the region.
We will consult with our customers, key stakeholders and the community using a range of engagement methods over the course of the project to develop a collective vision and identify investment opportunities with common aspirations.
We will use a range of communications channels to promote and inform stakeholders about consultation opportunities throughout the project.
Who we will consult as part of the Macalister Fresh project
We want to include a wide range of people and perspectives to inform what the future of the Gippsland area looks like and how we deliver it.
We will consult with our customers from across the Gippsland region as well as catchment management authorities, traditional owners, relevant Victorian and Commonwealth government agencies, local government, relevant water corporations, agricultural industry peak bodies and environmental community groups.
How we will deliver the Macalister Fresh project
The Macalister Fresh project will be delivered over 18 months in four phases.
Phase one will involve working with customers, stakeholders and communities across Gippsland to develop a collective vision for the future of the Macalister Irrigation Area.
Phase two will involve working with key stakeholders to develop principles and frameworks to guide water sharing and investment decisions.
Phase three will involve working with key stakeholders to develop project opportunities that aligns with the Macalister Fresh Vision, our business plan and regional strategic priorities.
Phase four is the final stage of the Macalister Fresh project and will involve bringing all the elements together into a high-level investment proposal. This will play a key role in attracting business and government to partner with us on water projects that will help grow Gippsland’s multi-billion-dollar food and fibre sector.
Why we need a vision for the Macalister Irrigation Area
Over the last decade, we have already delivered huge benefits to farmers through modernising infrastructure in the Macalister Irrigation District.
Works on the last stage of modernisation will be completed in 2024. We now have an opportunity to think about how we maximise the benefits of this once-in-a-generation investment and ensuring a thriving Gippsland long into the future.
To do this, we need to develop a vision for the Gippsland area that’s informed and shared by customers, businesses, government agencies and the community. This vision will crystallise our collective priorities and allow us to make decisions that align with it and what we all want to achieve.
How we will allocate water savings from modernisation
The Macalister Fresh project will be used to develop and define the principles and frameworks to guide future water sharing and investment decisions to 2050.
How we will decide what projects to prioritise
We will use the feedback we receive from customers and stakeholders during consultation, the Macalister Fresh vision and our capital expenditure plan to inform and prioritise projects
Why we need an investment proposal for the Macalister Irrigation Area
The Macalister Irrigation Area is one Victoria’s most important food bowls and a thriving agricultural region. We believe there is opportunity to grow the region.
An investment proposal, informed by the Macalister Fresh project, will articulate the value of reliable and secure rural water management in Gippsland and public and private sector investment opportunities.
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