Water rebate win for farmers

NSW government reinstates $30m Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate Scheme

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When the federal government pulled the plug on one of the most popular water rebate schemes ever introduced to NSW's agriculture sector, The Land stepped in to fight for its return.

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The Land has been campaigning for the emergency water infrastructure rebate scheme since May last year when it was closed as it was oversubscribed. Photo: Samantha Townsend

The Land has been campaigning for the emergency water infrastructure rebate scheme since May last year when it was closed as it was oversubscribed. Photo: Samantha Townsend

When the federal government pulled the plug on one of the most popular water rebate schemes ever introduced to NSW's agriculture sector, The Land stepped in to fight for its return.

As a result, the NSW Government has announced it will now come to the party, making $30 million in fresh funds available which means the Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate Scheme will be reinstated.

The state government's contribution of $15m will unlock a total of $30m in new funds for NSW primary producers for critical on-farm support - the additional $15m having been offered as a dollar-for-dollar promise last October by the federal government.

It was in October last year the federal government reversed its decision to scrap the scheme promising it would match the states should they also contribute new funds.

Additionally, the 845 NSW farmers whose applications were approved when the scheme was closed early last year because it was oversubscribed will be paid out "immediately", the NSW government has said.

That will cover the cost of an additional $5m worth of bores, dams and pipes on farms across NSW.

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Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall, who has been campaigning for the scheme to reopen, said the $15m was a "win for farmers".

"We are ready to reopen it pending the Commonwealth to match our $15 million. We have notified them as per their letter of offer weeks ago that we are willing to contribute to create a $30m bucket of money," Mr Marshall said.

"The effects of drought will be felt for many years, and the scheme will help primary producers be more resilient both now and for future dry periods."

He added that the government had worked closely with the feds to ensure that those 845 farmers wouldn't be left out of pocket.

"Once the scheme is approved and turned on, the first thing we will do is pay out immediately the 845 (existing) applications," he said.

Mr Marshall said the government had asked the Commonwealth if the reopening of the scheme could be backdated to when it finished last year.

Deputy Premier John Barilaro said the scheme proved to be a popular water program to ensure farmers could build water structures and become more drought resilient.

"We will continue to work with the Commonwealth Government and I hope they can match our funding commitment to ensure farmers receive the best outcome," Mr Barilaro said.

The scheme is administered by the NSW Rural Assistance Authority, where farmers are able to claim up to 25 per cent of eligible infrastructure costs, and is capped at $25,000.

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