Jobs tipped to flow with water security
EARLY reports indicate the Lockyer and Brisbane valleys are poised to enjoy an economic boom as representatives of the region's water users push ahead with plans to ensure more water for producers.
The Lockyer Water Users Forum hosted two information sessions last week to update farmers and irrigators on negotiations to secure an additional 100-megalitre entitlement for the region.
Lockyer farmer Justin Vanstone has been following the forum's progress since 2015 and said the plans were extremely welcome.
"Obviously we're still open to the elements and there are always growing restraints, but it'd give farmers the confidence to commit to contracts and employ more full-time people,” Mr Vanstone
"You're more likely to put 20-odd workers on the books if you've got a better idea of what your next year is going to look like.”
Should the extra entitlement be granted, experts expect an increase in output which would directly create at least 1400 new agricultural jobs and a gross community benefit of between $1.3billion and $3.2billion.
These figures were presented by Somerset mayor Graeme Lehmann as part of the findings from a socio-economic study jointly commissioned by the forum and the Lockyer Valley and Somerset regional councils.
Forum chairman Paul Emmerson said although he believed the numbers were conservative, the results were promising.
"The number-one goal is ensuring consistent supply of water, which will boost output,” he said.
"Here, the whole community depends on agriculture so the benefits will spread to more than just our producers.”
Lockyer Valley mayor Tanya Milligan presented findings from a pre-feasibility report which recommended six options for securing consistent water supply; water from Lake Wivenhoe, recharge aquifers with surface or recycled water, utilising recycled water from existing schemes and local treatment plants, water trading and improved on-farm efficiencies.
The next step will be the commissioning of a detailed business study, which the forum could then use when applying for federal grants and loans.
Information sessions will be held at Mulgowie Hall on Wednesday, November 15 and at Ma Ma Creek Community Hall on Thursday, November 16.
Both meetings are due to commence at 7pm.