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$20m boost to drought water funding in NSW

Beef Central, 13/01/2015

The New South Wales Government yesterday announced an additional $20 million under the Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate Scheme to support the State’s most drought affected farmers.

Meeting with drought-affected landholders in Walgett in the State’s North West, NSW Acting Premier Troy Grant said the funding would be targeted at the producers most impacted by drought.

“Some of our farmers are experiencing extreme drought conditions and are in need of crucial financial assistance to help them cope,” Mr Grant said.

“By allocating additional funding, we will ensure producers can continue running their businesses and local contractors receive a much needed boost.

“The Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate is a great scheme as it not only helps producers in drought increase available water for livestock, but enables them to better secure water into the future.”

Minister for Primary Industries Katrina Hodgkinson said the NSW Government’s $20 million boost included a number of key changes since the last scheme.

“Eligibility will be assessed based on one-in-50-year rainfall deficiency or greater, down to the farm level rather than the LGA level,” Ms Hodgkinson said.

“With the average claim for the last round approximately $14,000, the cap for this round has been set at $20,000.

“Where producers cannot access groundwater to install infrastructure such as pipelines, bores, tanks and troughs, they can now claim for de-silting works.

“These important changes will ensure assistance flows to those most in need, regardless of which council area they live in or if they have access to ground water.”

Minister for Western NSW Kevin Humphries said many communities in Western NSW were struggling to hold on to the very little water they had and required additional storage containers when rain events finally occurred.

“Take up of the scheme in the previous round shows how effective the rebates have been, particularly in the North West,” Mr Humphries said.

“About 2200 farm businesses benefited under the scheme in the 2013-14 financial year and this latest injection of money will help deliver more vital preparedness projects on severely drought-affected properties.

”The NSW Government’s Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate will close on 30 June 2015, or when the $20 million in funding is fully allocated. Applicants must seek pre-approval from the NSW Rural Assistance Authority prior to the commencement of any on-farm works.”

The scheme is designed to assist farmers to become more drought resilient, while providing waterfor emergency animal welfare requirements.

NSW Farmers’ President Fiona Simson said the State’s farmers were currently experiencing some of the driest conditions on record with many facing up to four years of no income.

“We are pleased the government has recognised this ongoing and dire situation,” Ms Simson said.

The package will be targeted to assist investment in water infrastructure with farmers required to satisfy the criteria of experiencing a 1 in 50 year event. The package will be broader than the previous Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate Scheme with dam works also included.

“This initiative will not only assist farmers in need, but it will importantly also assist regional economies with the likely need for contractors to undertake some of the water infrastructure works,” Ms Simson said.

“Packages such as this one are crucial in ensuring farmers and their communities are placed in a position to be able to recover from natural disasters such as this one when the climatic conditions improve.”

NSW Farmers will continue to work with government on the details of the package and development of a longer term robust drought policy.

Source: NSW Government/NSW Farmers. To access the package farmers can visit the Rural Assistance Authority website : http://www.raa.nsw.gov.au/assistance/emergency-water-infrastructure-rebate

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