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Farmers in drought-declared areas of Gippsland can now apply for a rebate of 25 percent, or up to $25,000, for money they’ve spent on urgent water infrastructure on their properties this financial year.

Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester has encouraged eligible farmers in Wellington and East Gippsland shires to lodge their applications to the On-farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate Scheme.

“The worsening impact of the drought is continuing to take a toll on farming families and put communities under extreme pressure,” Mr Chester said.

“Many dryland farmers have been waiting for this scheme to open in Victoria since it was announced by the Federal Government last October. My office has fielded many calls from people wanting to know when they can apply.

“The scheme is now open and it is an important way we can get money back into farmers’ pockets.”

Mr Chester and his state colleagues the Member for Gippsland South Danny O’Brien and Member for Gippsland East Tim Bull wrote to the Victorian Agriculture Minister in January asking Victoria to sign up to the scheme as soon as possible.

The scheme, which is administered by the State Government, opened for applications on March 8.

Primary producers, property owners, share farmers and lease holders in a drought-affected area can apply for a rebate for new water infrastructure to address animal welfare concerns and to improve drought resilience.

Eligible expenses include buying and installing pipes, tanks, troughs and pumps, desilting dams and drilling stock water bores. Up to 25 percent of those expenses incurred since July 1, 2018 can be claimed.

Farm businesses outside of Wellington and East Gippsland local government areas can apply for the rebate if they can demonstrate they have a critical need for water for their livestock.

Federal Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources David Littleproud said during his visit to Gippsland late last month that an agreement had been struck between the federal and state governments.

“Farmers struggle to find money for new pipes and pumps during a drought, so this will make a big difference,” Minister Littleproud said.

“We’re standing shoulder-to-shoulder with farmers doing it tough, and this’ll make it easier for them to look after their animals. This will make farms more productive in the good times and better prepared for the next drought.

“It will also support regional jobs when farmers use local businesses to do the work.”

Eligible farm businesses can apply for the rebate via Rural Finance by calling 1800 260 425 or visiting www.ruralfinance.com.au/

For more information visit agriculture.gov.au/water/national/on-farm-infrastructure-rebate

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