Drought affected farmers in New South Wales who have spent or borrowed thousands of dollars to install essential water infrastructure in the knowledge that 75pc of the expenditure would be rebateable are now being told the money is no longer there.
The NSW Farmers association said many farmers who had gone to finalise their applications on the Rural Assistance Authority’s website a week before the application deadline have been met with the news that the scheme is now committed, and they should no longer apply.
Farmers have been told that not only was the funding from this financial year fully subscribed, but funding for the next financial year, which has not even commenced, has also been fully subscribed. “Nowhere has it ever said that rebates will expire once the funds are fully committed,” NSW Farmers president Fiona Simson said.
“The federal and state governments have a duty of care to farmers who are struggling through drought to ensure that their applications are reviewed and that rebates are made available.
“We urge farmers to ignore what the authority’s website is saying and to still submit their applications because our association is going to keep applying political pressure at the state and federal level until their commitments to our farmers are honoured.
The association has written to the Premier Mike Baird urging him to visit a drought declared region in the state so that he can see how it is impacting on grass roots farmers on the ground.