Farmers impacted by drought will be given another 12 months to apply for funding from the On-farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate Scheme (OFEWIRS) to help them build much needed infrastructure to make their properties drought resilient.
Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt said farmers will now have until June 2022 to utilise the $50 million in funding secured for the OFEWIRS by the Coalition Government in the 2020-21 Budget.
“This has been a hugely popular program that’s made a real difference for thousands of Australian farmers dealing with the devastating challenges of drought,” Minister Pitt said.
“The scheme can be used to fund small scale on-farm drought proofing water projects, including buying and laying pipes, installing water storage devices, such as tanks and troughs associated with stock watering and desilting dams and water bores.
“Farmers value the rebate because it helps them manage the here-and-now when it comes to keeping livestock watered and permanent plantings alive in a drought – but importantly it also improves productivity so they are better prepared for the next inevitable drought at some point in the future.
“This program is about helping farmers being drought prepared and drought resilient.
“So we’re making $25 million of the Commonwealth’s $50 million available in 2021-22 along with any underspend from this year.
“States partnering on this program help make the Federal Government support stretch even further.
“Providing up to $100 million for eligible on-farm water infrastructure projects going forward means more landowners are going to be able to access its benefits.
“I’m pleased that South Australia, Western Australia and New South Wales have committed to co-contributions to make the rebate available to their farmers – and I encourage the other States to hurry up and join in so their farmers can too have access to these drought busting grants.”
The OFEWIRS reimburses drought affected livestock producers and horticulturalists with permanent plantings for eligible infrastructure such as bores and pipes with up to 25% of costs capped at $25,000.
For more information on the rebate visit the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment website.