New $20 million fund a win for drought-affected farmers
LOCAL drought-affected farmers are set to share in an additional $20 million in funding under the Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate scheme, Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall announced today.
“Today’s announcement is a win for Northern Tablelands farmers who have been battling extreme drought conditions for the almost all of the last 12 months,” Mr Marshall said.
“After a great deal of lobbying this time last year we secured the first tranche of the Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate scheme, giving farmers immediate access to crucial funding to secure water for their livestock, but it ended on 30 June.
“This new funding recognises that while we’ve had some good recent rain, conditions deteriorated further through the last half of 2014 and people on the land are doing it bloody tough.
“Not only does this funding help farmers who are battling with short-term water issues, it also helps them invest in long-term infrastructure and be better prepared for the next inevitable drought.
“Eligible farmers will be able to apply for a rebate of up to 50 per cent of the cost of installing on-farm emergency water infrastructure, up to a cap of $20,000.”
Mr Marshall said the fresh support was being directed to the worst-affected farmers, those experiencing a one-in-50-year rainfall deficiency.
“Most of the Northern Tablelands – from Walcha up to Armidale, Guyra and Glen Innes and out through Inverell and Moree – is among the most rain deficient regions in the State over the last 12 to 24 months and I therefore expect many of our local farmers will be able to take advantage of this much-needed scheme,” he said.
The rebate can be used for a range of projects, including:
- Installation of bores;
- New water storage tanks;
- Pumps and pipelines;
- Stock troughs; and
- De-silting of dams, if the property does not have access to good-quality groundwater and relies on surface water
Mr Marshall encouraged local farmers to get in contact with the Rural Assistance Authority to discuss their eligibility.
“Our local livestock industries are the lifeblood of our regional economy and this funding helps our farmers safeguard their operations and improve water security,” he said.
The Bureau of Meteorology’s latest rainfall data will be used to determine which areas are eligible, down to the farm level rather than Local Government Area, as has been the case in the past.
The NSW Government’s Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate will close on 30 June 2015, or when the $20 million in funding is fully allocated. The scheme assists farmers to become more drought resilient, while providing water for emergency animal welfare requirements.
For more information, or to apply, visit www.raa.nsw.gov.au.