Additional support for NSW emergency water infrastructure rebates
18 March 2015
The Australian Government today announced it would provide additional funding to assist with the overwhelming response to the 2013-14 NSW emergency water infrastructure rebate.
Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, said that 2013–14 saw an unprecedented demand for the rebate programme, which was supplemented by funding from the Australian Government. As a result the allocated funds had been exhausted.
“I was concerned about the potential impacts of oversubscription to the scheme, and I have worked hard to find a way to help farmers who applied for a 2013–14 rebate after the programme was already fully subscribed,” Minister Joyce said.
“I am pleased to announce the Australian Government has approved additional funding of $3 million – on top of the $7 million already provided to NSW farmers since we began the scheme. This is the last of the available funding that formed part of the $320 million national drought package announced in February last year.
“This additional funding will be distributed to producers in NSW who were eligible for, but did not receive, the Australian Government top up to the 2013–14 NSW emergency water infrastructure rebate.
“Whilst it is up to the NSW Government to distribute the additional funding I have indicated my preference to firstly assist those who have been suffering drought for the longest period.
“The rebate programme has assisted 2,900 farmers to fund the installation of water infrastructure such as piping, tanks, troughs and hoses to meet emergency animal welfare needs, and will help farmers to manage pasture on properties and help keep stock away from sensitive watercourses.
“This also has the benefit of supporting farmers to invest in water infrastructure that will help their businesses become more resilient and better able to cope with future droughts,” Minister Joyce said.
Minister Joyce said that the Australian Government was committed to standing by farmers and rural communities through hard times such as drought.
“There are a range of support measures in place to assist farmers experiencing hardship and I strongly encourage farmers not to self-assess their eligibility for these measures, but to speak to the experts about their options,” Minister Joyce said.
NSW Minister for Primary Industries, Katrina Hodgkinson, said the additional Federal Government funding for the EWIR will be welcomed by NSW farmers enduring hardship.
“A great number of NSW farmers are suffering the effects from a severe drought. Since the EWIR scheme commenced, the NSW Government has committed $55 million, which, combined with total Federal Government contribution of $10 million, is a substantial investment going toward helping our farmers.
“As advised by the Australian Government this additional funding will be directed to eligible farmers who received EWIR funding in the 2013–14 round.
“The NSW Rural Assistance Authority will be in contact with eligible farmers over the coming months to discuss their options,” said Ms Hodgkinson.
The distribution of the additional funding will be managed by the NSW Government. Farmers with questions about their application for a 2013–14 emergency water infrastructure rebate should contact the NSW Rural Assistance Authority on 1800 678 593.
For more information on a range of Australian Government assistance for farmers, farm businesses and rural communities, visit agriculture.gov.au/assistance.