NSW Farmers is appealing to the federal government to reverse a decision to stop funding for the Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate Scheme (EWIR).
The Federal Minister for Water, Keith Pitt, has advised the State Government that the Commonwealth would not provide $9.1 million to continue the scheme, which provided a 25 per cent rebate, up to $25,000 on purchases and installation costs of water infrastructure projects.
“This is a tiny investment in a successful drought proofing scheme that has far reaching benefits beyond the farm,” NSW Farmers President James Jackson said.
“It’s also a smart investment. For every one dollar from the federal government, the farmer puts in three dollars for drought preparedness and employs local contractors along the way.”
Since 2018, more than 2,800 NSW primary producers have received $16.8 million for EWIR rebates on eligible works.
“There is no doubt that this program has been hugely popular and successful in NSW, with ongoing demand reflecting the severity of the drought across the State.”
“It must not be forgotten that some parts of the state are still in desperate need of rain and more than 90 per cent of the state is still facing ongoing significant drought conditions.”
“This decision is extremely disappointing. This rebate assists with dam construction and repairs, adding above ground water storage, installing drip lines and extending pipelines to carry water- all critical measures for sustaining local food and fibre production in future droughts.”
“The State Government has stepped up when it comes to ongoing drought support measures, whereas the federal government is stepping back.”
“We implore the Federal Government and Minister Pitt to reconsider funding for this program as a matter of urgency.”