AgForce welcomes extension of $50 million Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate for drought-affected farmers

AgForce has welcomed the Federal Government’s announcement of an extension for primary producers to access $50 million nationally for Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebates (EWIR) and is calling on the State Government to sign on to ensure the funds are available here in Queensland.

The EWIR is designed to address immediate animal welfare needs and, importantly, help improve the resilience of properties to future drought, but it comes with conditions: namely, that State Government’s must match the Commonwealth’s contributions, dollar for dollar.

AgForce CEO Michael Guerin said it was time the Queensland State Government and Federal Government ended their standoff to focus on the people who mattered most.

“The only ones who lose from political points scoring and bickering are producers,” Mr Guerin said.

“Despite the recent rain across Queensland, as of March, more than 67 per cent of the State was still in drought.

“The recovery for producers will be long and it will be costly, and it needs to start now so that Queensland’s farmers can get on with the job of leading us in our post-COVID recovery.

“AgForce’s long-term work with the State Government on developing a new drought policy needs to bear fruit and we eagerly await the Government’s announcement on the form it will take.

“We recognise the success of the State Government’s own EWIR scheme for grazing properties in drought, but there is still more to be done in delivering a comprehensive program.

“We are therefore asking the State Government to follow the lead of New South Wales and co-fund the Federal Government’s scheme so that Queensland producers can benefit from the funds on offer.

“The longer the standoff between the State and Federal Governments continues, the more harm it does to producers who have suffered enough.”

Mr Guerin said it was vital that all broadacre commodities were given access to the State Government’s EWIR and other in-drought and recovery assistance rather than only grazing, as it currently stands.

“All producers in drought affected areas need access to rebates that assist with the cost of installing critical water infrastructure, not only graziers,” Mr Guerin said.

“Support programs must provide incentives that encourage businesses to prepare for climatic events, while also assisting producers in their recovery after drought.

“Drought recovery should never be a political issue. Anyone who has lived through even a few months of drought knows how devastating it can be to the land, livestock, and to communities.

“But we’re not talking here about months, we’re talking close to a decade in some areas – enough is enough.” 

/Public Release. This material comes from the originating organization and may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. View in full here.