Thursday, August 5, 2021

Commonwealth reveals drought funding shortfall

The Federal Government has threatened to walk away from farmers unless states and territories meet the funding shortfall for the Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate (EWIR) Scheme, Minister for Agriculture Adam Marshall said today.

Mr Marshall said that farmers should not be punished for the Commonwealth’s inability to fulfil its promise to fund its own program until June 2021.

“The Federal Government showed its lack of commitment to farmers by threatening to leave them high and dry, unless we fund their shortfall,” Mr Marshall said.

“The EWIR Scheme helps farmers best prepare for future drought conditions but during the most torrid time we’ve ever seen on the land and despite our pleas otherwise, the Commonwealth announced in May it would pull up stumps early.

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“I have continued to implore the Commonwealth Government to reconsider funding for this program, and yesterday, without any consultation, states and territories have been demanded to fix the problem caused in Canberra.

“This is on top of the NSW Government already doing the heavy lifting and committing more than $4 billion in direct drought and water security support.”

Mr Marshall said the EWIR Scheme gives primary producers access to a 25 per cent rebate, up to $25,000, on new purchases and installation costs of new water infrastructure that would help farmers best prepare for future drought conditions.

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“If anyone thinks the drought is over, they’ve got rocks in their head, so it is critical that those on the land have the water infrastructure they need to keep operations running during dry times, now and in the future,” Mr Marshall said.

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“I will continue calling on the Commonwealth to fulfil its promise to fund the Scheme, so that the NSW Rural Assistance Authority can continue administering this popular program.”

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