A 3500-hectare fruit and vegetable project in the Northern Territory could get more than $300 million in water for free. Fortune Agribusiness says its Singleton Horticulture Project will support more than 100 permanent jobs and more than 1300 seasonal positions through an annual operating expenditure of about $110 million.
But the Central Land Council says a report from the University of South Australia found the 3500-hectare project is dependent on large public subsidies while significant ecological, cultural and social costs have not been properly considered.
It also estimates the value of the groundwater being provided under the NT government's 30-year extraction licence at between $70 million and more than $300 million. Central Land Council chief executive Les Turner says the report raises serious questions about the project's social, cultural and environmental costs.