Food and Fibre targets economic, jobs and income boom through smarter agricultural water use

Tuesday 15 February 2022





Food and Fibre Targets $40m per year Economic Boost, with $21.7m for Local Households


A report by Food and Fibre Great South Coast has revealed that south-west Victoria’s food and fibre sector could add $40m worth of value to the local economy by increasing its agricultural water usage by 10 per cent. 


The BDO EconSearch report, commissioned by Food and Fibre Great South Coast in partnership with local councils Corangamite Shire, Moyne Shire, Southern Grampians and Warrnambool City, Deakin University and Wannon Water, found that a 10 per cent increase in irrigation and water efficiency across the local food and fibre producers network would unlock employment and financial opportunities in all sectors of the regional economy.  


Food and Fibre Great South Coast Executive Officer, Natalie Collard, said understanding the added value of smarter water use is invaluable to the region’s future. 


“It’s wonderful to know that improving the efficiency of our water use would not only yield better production outcomes for the region, but also improve the lives of households and families in a very real way. 


“We’re now targeting a 10 per cent increase to productive water use across industries like dairy, horticulture and livestock. That’s estimated to bring about some $40 million in economic growth per year across the region.  


“Boosting production through better irrigation would also create an estimated 400 new full time equivalent jobs by increasing demand for livestock management, local production activity, and manufacturing support. The research tells us that means an added $21.7 million to household incomes, growing local consumption and wellbeing. 


“This report confirms what we’ve always known – the entire region thrives when food and fibre thrives.” 


Understanding the future of the region’s food and fibre sector is vitally important to policy decisions and investment, demonstrated by the local government and community contribution to this research.  


“It’s great to see reports like this be funded by local councils, as well as groups like Deakin University and Wannon Water. This support proves that stakeholders are ready to invest in growing our industry and wider community wellbeing. 


“We’ll now be working hard with leaders in farming and industry to ensure this 10 per cent increase target can be achieved sustainably. We’re confident we’ll make it happen together.” 


Food and Fibre Great South Coast has long held the view that it is our role to uplift the whole Great South Coast region through sustainably growing food and fibre. Through its ‘Realising the Water Opportunity’ committee, the organisation prioritises sustainable water management, monitoring and usage as a key strategic pillar. Find out more about Food and Fibre Great South Coast’s efforts to bring about this water opportunity by visiting 



Attributable quotes: 


“Deakin University was pleased to collaborate with other stakeholders in the region to support the preparation of this report as Food and Fibre is a such a key sector in the region. The report not only validates this importance but also highlights the significant opportunities for future, ongoing growth of this sector which then benefits other sectors across the local economy. Deakin is keen to play its role in achieving this success for the region.” 

  • Grant Sutherland, Chief Executive Officer, South West Victoria, Deakin University 


“Food and Fibre is critical for Moyne Shire Council, with more than 37 per cent of our residents employed in the sector. This research shows that by making better use of water resources in a responsible way, we can create hundreds of new jobs and unlock tens of millions of dollars’ worth of economic activity while still ensuring sustainability of the water supply. 


Moyne Shire Council strongly supports changes to make better use of water, to create jobs and provide an economic boost for the entire region.”  

  • Bill Millard, Chief Executive Officer,  Moyne Shire Council  






Media enquires: 

Natalie Collard 

Executive Officer 

Ph: 0413 009 373