Wednesday, 15 July 2020
Media release

Joint media release with the Hon. Vickie Chapman MP and the Hon. David Speirs MP - Kangaroo Island builds back better with new desalination project

The Australian and South Australian Governments have today announced an extra $15 million for Kangaroo Island's new desalination plant, which will create 500 jobs in a community devastated by the Black Summer bushfires.

Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management David Littleproud said the desalination plant will improve water security, which has been an ongoing vulnerability for the island. This will help support vital industries and provide long-term social and economic recovery.

Today's announcement will bring the total funding to $47.8 million and bring this important project to fruition on an island that attracts more than 140,000 tourists each year.

“The desalination plant is the first of many priority projects that will receive local economic recovery funding available for bushfire affected communities. This ensures a locally-led approach to bushfire recovery," Minister Littleproud said.

“Early in the recovery journey, we knew that the best way to support local recovery would be to align our funding to local and regional recovery planning and priorities.

“By partnering with states we are maximising the amount of funding available to the most severely affected communities."

The Australian Government's contribution is part of the local economic recovery funding announced by the Prime Minister on 11 May 2020.

South Australian Deputy Premier and KI native, Vickie Chapman said this new investment, on top of the State Government's $33 million commitment announced on 5 June, will create an estimated 500 jobs and add over $200 million of economic value to Kangaroo Island in the next 15 years.

“We thank the Federal Government for their commitment to provide additional funding for priority projects within these communities," Deputy Premier Chapman said.

“This summer's devastating bushfires highlighted the vulnerability of Kangaroo Island's water infrastructure and the need for greater resilience for the future – the new desalination plant will provide this.

Minister for Environment and Water, David Speirs said that Kangaroo Islanders have been wanting this type of water infrastructure for a long time.

“Engagement with the local community over the past three years has made it clear greater capacity generated by this plant is needed to improve drinking water security and provide better water infrastructure to support the local tourism and agriculture industries," Minister Speirs said.

The desalination plant will take between 18 and 24 months to complete with operations estimated to commence in 2022.

Priority projects identified by the states via local communities will continue to be reviewed and fast-tracked by the National Bushfire Recovery Agency as part of a joint funding process with the states.

Further details are available https://www.bushfirerecovery.gov.au/progress-to-date/local-communities