Farmers from drought-declared areas of Gippsland will soon be able to apply for a rebate of up to 25% for on-farm water infrastructure spending.
During his weekend visit to Gippsland, Federal Agriculture and Water Resources Minister David Littleproud said an agreement had been struck between the Federal and Victorian governments under the $50 million On-farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate Scheme.
The scheme will be administered by the Victorian Government. Details about the application process are expected to be available soon.
Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester said news of an agreement being signed with Victoria was a huge relief to local dryland farmers.
“The worsening impact of the drought is taking a toll on farming families and putting communities under extreme pressure,” Mr Chester said.
“I’ve been meeting with farmers and agricultural industry representatives across Gippsland. They’ve been telling me that one of the major issues they are facing is access to on-farm water.
“As this drought worsens, the implementation of this scheme is becoming increasingly urgent.
“Farmers will soon be able to claim back a portion of what they have spent on water infrastructure since last July. This 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 last month requesting she sign up to the scheme as soon as possible.
Primary producers, property owners, share farmers and lease holders in a drought-affected area can apply for a rebate for new water infrastructure for grazing livestock 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% of those expenses incurred since July 2018 can be claimed, or up to a maximum amount agreed with the state government.
Deputy Prime Minister and Nationals Leader Michael McCormack said new water infrastructure projects were key to helping drought-proof the region for the future.
“Having spent time on the ground with drought-affected farmers earlier this month, we understand the importance of immediate and meaningful assistance for Gippsland’s farming families,” Mr McCormack said.
“That’s why our Government is putting in place immediate and long-term measures to provide relief for those people who are doing it tough.
“The On-Farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate Scheme as well as the $31 million we’re putting on the table for the Macalister Irrigation District project are about the short and longer term future of Gippsland farming.”
Farmers interested in participating in the rebate scheme should contact the Victorian Department of Agriculture to register their interest. Visit http://agriculture.vic.gov.au/about-us/contact-us
For more detail about the scheme, go to http://www.agriculture.gov.au/water/national/on-farm-infrastructure-rebate