irrigation on farm

Drought-affected South Australian farmers will get more support to install on-farm water infrastructure with a rebate scheme getting a $3.45 million boost from the Marshall Liberal Government.

The On-Farm Emergency Water Infrastructure rebate scheme was exhausted earlier this year due to unprecedented interest.

The funding boost is from the Marshall Liberal Government’s $21 million Drought Support Program which has already provided immediate support through a council rate rebate and pastoral lease rent relief, expanded the Rural Financial Counselling Service and increased the Family and Business mentor program.

Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development David Basham said the increased funding would provide further support to South Australian drought-affected farmers.

“Our farmers are the backbone of the state’s economy and agriculture will be a critical part of our recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Minister Basham.

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

“The On-Farm Emergency Water Infrastructure rebate scheme has been very popular with nearly 450 primary producers across South Australia receiving support so far and we have expanded the program following feedback from a series of recent drought forums.

“This $3.45 million 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.

“Our $21 million Drought Support Program builds on the support measures already in place and we will continue to work with industry and all levels of government to make sure assistance is targeted and effective.”

Funding for the On-Farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate was exhausted earlier this year, with the scheme closed to new applications from 17 June 2020. The program was jointly funded by the State and Federal governments and has already been provided to 442 primary producers under the scheme since July 2018.

An extra $2 million will allow existing applications to be processed and $1.45 million will allow potential applicants who have already undertaken work and incurred costs, but not yet applied. Those applicants will be entitled to 30 per cent funding (up to $30,000 per application), while the State Government has requested the Commonwealth consider additional funding for the program.

If the Commonwealth fulfils this request it is expected the total support for each applicant would return to $50,000 in line with the original rebate.

Originally published on the Premier of South Australia’s website: Drought-affected farmers get $3.45 million water boost