Northern Adelaide Irrigation Scheme (NAIS) delivering on jobs promise


Image via Fresh Please

South Australia’s NAIS project has already begun delivering on its construction jobs promise as 29 km of transfer pipeline begins installation.

Originally plugged as a game changer for the economy in South Australia, the Northern Adelaide Irrigation Scheme promises to support SA farmer pleas to boost water supply and infrastructure in the state.

While reports seem to have overstated job creation numbers at around 5000 last year, more recent estimates sit around 3700 jobs on completion, with 150 jobs opening up throughout the construction phase.

At completion, the project is expected to bring in over $578 million to the South Australian economy and 12 gigalitres of additional water to the Northern Adelaide Plains. NAIS has been a key part of the State’s campaign to bolster export capabilities and create more jobs across the State.

“The new State Liberal Government is delivering on its strong plan to grow South Australia’s exports to bring more dollars and jobs into this state,” said SA Premier Steven Marshall.

While the $155.6 million dollar project has been met with mixed reviews throughout the planning and now construction phase, key critics are confident the project will bolster the State’s economy and deliver thousands of much needed jobs.


Leed E&A began construction in April this year on the first stage of the project, worth $44 million, and are on track to deliver water access to the first group of customers as early as mid-2019.

The Northern Adelaide Irrigation Scheme (NAIS) will deliver high quality, climate-independent reclaimed water for agrifood production and export to national or international markets” - South Australian Water Corporation, 2018.

The infrastructure plight of South Australian farmers garnered attention in 2016, highlighted by the ABC in the same year, where it was promptly looked into by the South Australian government. Alongside increased global food demand, particularly in China, the NAIS project looks to support local businesses and significantly increase interstate and international export capabilities.

“It’s an opportunity to really get high value exportable goods. If we consider the [Australian] free trade agreements [across Asia]… everything is just lining up to unlock the potential that NAIS will build,” said Anthony Penney from Business SA.

Federal Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Anne Rushton has said that the project will “consolidate local markets and boost high quality fruit and vegetable exports”, where it will help to underpin “regional jobs across the agribusiness production, processing and marketing supply chain.”

This project is one of many in South Australia that has seen the State Government garner credit for its focus on bolstering both economic and employment opportunities across the state, both now and into the future.

“The project is a great example of the kind of infrastructure we are delivering to create jobs and stimulate economic growth for the benefit of rural communities,” said Minister Ruston.

Source: SA Water & Business SA.


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