Joint media release: South Australia leading support for drought affected farmers

18 February 2021

Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia, the Hon. Keith Pitt MP
SA Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, the Hon. David Basham
Member for Barker, Tony Pasin MP
Member for Grey, Rowan Ramsey MP


The South Australian Government is leading the way in supporting drought affected farmers in their region after signing on to the $100 million On-farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate Scheme. 

Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt said this is a great outcome for farmers and he urges other states that have not yet shown their commitment to this scheme to act swiftly and sign up. 

“The rebate scheme is about delivering practical support for our farmers to complete critical on-farm water infrastructure projects on the ground in order to maintain a more reliable and sustainable water supply into the future,” Minister Pitt said. 

“Primary producers and horticultural producers in SA will be able to get on with important drought-proofing works including improving water storage on their farms through the installation of tanks, troughs, pipes, pumps and drilling new bores.”

The expanded investment recognises the popularity of the scheme. Eligible farmers can claim up to 25% of the eligible infrastructure costs, capped at $25,000 with the state and the Australian Government contributing half each.

South Australia’s Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development David Basham was thrilled to support South Australian farmers who are still doing it tough.

“Our farmers are the backbone of South Australia’s economy and the importance of agriculture across the country has been further highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Minister Basham said.

“Many parts of the state are still suffering through drought and we are proud to continue to support those farmers doing it tough.

“This funding boost will allow more drought-affected farmers to access help and install vital on-farm water infrastructure such as water storages, pumps, pipes, distilling dams, and associated power supplies such as generators.”

Member for Barker Tony Pasin welcomed the South Australian Government’s cooperation with the scheme. 

“Over 500 legacy projects in South Australia alone will immediately benefit from the State Government’s decision to match the Federal Government’s $3.7 million provided for under this scheme,” Mr Pasin said.

“We’re giving farmers the tools to better manage future droughts so we can keep producing best quality food and fibre for the world, and keep regional economies going.”

Federal Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey said the scheme was making great inroads into reducing the impact of drought and improving drought resilience.

“This scheme had been over-subscribed, and farmers had spent money in good faith and been unable to get a refund,” he said.

“So it is very pleasing that those who have already committed will be able to be supported and that we will see further investments in one of farming’s most limiting factors, water supply.”

Minister Pitt has written to each of his ministerial counterparts encouraging their participation in the scheme. 

To date, South Australia, Western Australia and New South Wales have indicated commitments to the scheme.

For more information about the On-farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate Scheme visit the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment’s website.