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$80m earmarked for irrigation project

The government will kick off a $400 million regional irrigation project with an $80m start-up in the May budget.

The scheme was signalled in 2011 and the plan is to set up a company which will attract private investment.

"Cabinet has directed that $80m for the initial stages of the company's operation be set aside in budget 2013," Primary Industries Minister David Carter said on Wednesday.

"The development of well-designed storage and irrigation infrastructure has the potential to deliver significant economic growth for our primary industries and support new jobs."