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Fortune Agribusiness

17 November 2021

Singleton Water Licence Decision


Following the Water Resources Review Panel’s assessment of the Singleton Station water licence, the Minister for Territory Families and Urban Housing (as delegate for the Minister for Water Security) has announced that an amended water extraction licence has been granted for Fortune Agribusiness with some new and modified conditions. 

Mr Peter Wood, Chairman of Fortune Agribusiness, thanked the Water Resources Review Panel and the Northern Territory Government for their work in reviewing the licence decision, and the granting of the licence under new terms. 

“We understand and respect the intensive review process that took place, to ensure the science underpinning the licence decision is comprehensive, and to ensure that stakeholders and interested parties have the opportunity to be heard and considered. We can now progress with the remaining approvals and planning for the 3500 Ha horticultural project.”

Under the revised water licence, Fortune Agribusiness is required to carry out further hydrogeological investigation of the water resources at the site of the planned bore field, and also complete an impact assessment of groundwater extraction on identified groundwater dependent cultural values.  

“Both of these tasks are critical to the success of our project and will be undertaken as soon as practical” said Mr Wood.

Stage 1 of the project has also been extended from two years to three years. “This longer period will provide further understanding of aquifer behaviour by allowing for an increased period of monitoring, data collection and environmental evaluation before water is allocated for Stage 2”.

Mr Wood said that following the licence decision, some aspects of the project plan will need to be revised to satisfy the additional conditions. However, the opportunity the project presents for the development of a shared agricultural precinct in the Western Davenport region is exciting, said Mr Wood.

“The conditions that must be satisfied under this new licence are comprehensive and stringent and we are committed to meeting all these requirements. We recognise the importance of water security and sound environmental management to all Territorians and indeed for the project itself. 

Mr Wood said that Fortune Agribusiness is committed to work closely and effectively with the Central Land Council and Traditional Owners, and other stakeholders in the region, including working with Indigenous rangers to help monitor, manage and protect water and land resources and maintain sites of cultural importance. 

“From the outset, Fortune Agribusiness has been committed to engaging and working closely with the Traditional Owners and the Central Land Council and will be continuing to do so throughout the life of the project. We believe in working together collaboratively and meaningfully to build a world class food production precinct, that will deliver sustainable shared benefit to the people of the Western Davenport region for decades to come.” 

Mr Wood said the project presented enormous potential as a catalyst for further investment and economic development of the region.

“We want to work with the local community and Traditional Owners to create genuine social and economic benefits. This development will require significant infrastructure to be built, including new solar power generation, reliable high-speed communications, farm produce processing and packing, as well as community amenities for the permanent and temporary workforce. There will be long-term training and employment opportunities for local people as well as numerous business opportunities for existing and new service providers to support the construction phase and ongoing operations on the Singleton project.” 

Mr Wood noted that with a capital cost of around $150M once fully developed, the project will support well over 100 permanent jobs and more than 1300 seasonal jobs, and an annual operating expenditure of around $110M, much spent locally.

Mr Wood said the Singleton Horticulture Project will be using state of the art farming practices and technology to achieve the most efficient and best value water use and become a showcase for food production in Australia and worldwide. 

“The project will provide fresh produce for the local community and Australian market, increasing our nation’s food security as well as Australia’s trade output” said Mr Wood. 

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