Incentive to help drought-proof farms
FRUIT and nut growers across the region can now access the Federal Government's On-Farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate.
The rebate scheme allows horticultural farmers with permanent plantings to claim 25 per cent of expenses, up to $25,000, on eligible projects such as water storage, drilling bores or desilting dams that commenced after June 30, 2019.
Federal Minister for Drought David Littleproud made the announcement today, saying an additional $13.2 million in funding is being made available to make sure demand for the scheme is met.
Queensland, NSW, South Australia, Tasmania and the ACT have also signed up to the extension.
NSW Farmers Horticulture Committee chair and apple grower Guy Gaeta says the water emergency facing many fruit and nut growers is finally being recognised.
"This drought is having a massive impact on growers. If our trees die, it can take up to seven years to get back into production," Mr Gaeta said.
"It is just as important as any other agriculture sector that the horticulture industry gets access to assistance to improve water infrastructure and efficiency."
Mr Gaeta said the NSW Farmers and Horticulture committee have lobbied hard to get recognition of the drought's impact on permanent plantings.
"So we welcome news that we are now eligible for the water emergency rebate scheme," he said.
"It's also important news for our consumers. We want to keep supplying a local product and sustain our export markets.
The export value of fruit including table grapes, citrus and stone fruit returns approximately $1.75 billion to the national economy.
Mr Gaeta said NSW Farmers has also asked Minister Littleproud to consider a grant - to be equally matched by the producer - to enable the purchase and installation of orchard netting.
"This will have the benefit of increased protection for produce from flying foxes and pests, heat and ultra violet impacts, and adverse weather conditions, such as high winds or a repeat of the hail storms experienced last December."
The On-Farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate scheme can be accessed through the Rural Assistance Authority. For more information call 1800 678 593