Politics

Nationals announce plans for water works

As parts of Australia wait for fatal and devastating floodwaters to disperse, the federal Nationals have announced plans to expand the regional network of dams, weirs and pipelines.

In his address to the Nationals’ federal conference in Canberra on Saturday, party leader Michael McCormack covered a range of topics relevant to regional Australia.

“I’m delighted to announce a fund dedicated to building more smaller, targeted dams, weirs and pipelines through regional Australia,” he said.

“Much of the current focus is on building bigger water projects, but I want to ensure we can get on with building smaller projects as well.”

The program will call for applications worth up to $20 million from every state and territory, with the intention of being completed within two years to support the agricultural sector.

Mr McCormack also used the stage to champion the benefits of regional living, adding that Australians were moving “en masse” from cities to the regions.

“The regions are the hot spot opportunity, with 56,510 job vacancies showing online,” he said.

“From the coalminer to the nurse, from the farm labourer to the truckie, good jobs are there, and we’re backing our people in.”

Some regional centres have received hundreds of millimetres of rain in the past 10 days and Mr McCormack said the coalition federal government had been quick to respond with flood assistance.

The Nationals conference is scheduled to run Saturday and Sunday, with addresses by deputy leader and Agriculture Minister David Littleproud and the party’s Senate leader Bridget McKenzie.

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