Horticultural producers, with permanent plantings, can now access the On-Farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate with Queensland, NSW, South Australia, Tasmania and the ACT signing up to the extension today.
Federal Member for Calare and Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister, Andrew Gee, said he was delighted with the news, a decision which he stressed will help save valuable trees and vines during the current drought.
“Trees and vines can take years to produce fruit. Growers shouldn’t have to start over once the drought breaks,” Mr Gee said.
“This is a vitally important federal program and it will allow producers to claim 25 per cent of expenses, up to $25,000, on eligible projects started after 30 June 2019 such as installing new pipes, water storage, water pumps, drilling bores and desilting dams.”
Importantly, Mr Gee said growers can also claim the cost of associated power supplies such as generators.
“This drought has been devastating right across the agriculture sector, and the extension of this scheme recognises the impact on our essential horticultural industries.
“Many growers are simply running out of water. This extension will make better use of water, while making water more available across valuable permanent plantings.
“A lot of fruit growers around Orange, and other parts of the state, are at higher altitudes where there is not a lot of run-off, even when it rains. During these dry times, the only option they have is to drill for more water.
“This can often be an expensive practice, which is why orchardists in the Central West have been lobbying so hard to get this scheme extended to cover horticulture.
“I want to pay tribute to Central Western vignerons and orchardists such Orange’s Guy Gaeta, who have led the way in ensuring this extension remained on the national agenda and that horticulture was included.
“It looks like it’s going to be a long, hot spring and summer, which will be even more worrying and stressful for our farmers. As conditions deteriorate drought support will need to be ramped up.
“This announcement is part of that and will undoubtedly help. It delivers on a key request from a crucial part of the farming sector,” Mr Gee added.
Minister for Drought David Littleproud said the Federal Government had taken steps to make sure there was enough money to expand the scheme.
“An additional $13.2 million in funding is being made available to make sure demand for the scheme is met,” Minister Littleproud said.
The scheme can be accessed through the Rural Assistance Authority. For more information, visit raa.nsw.gov.au or phone 1800 678 593.
Caption: Federal Member for Calare, Andrew Gee, and Minister for Drought, David Littleproud, met with Orange orchardists Michael and Guy Gaeta to discuss the extension of the On-Farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate during this year’s apple harvest