Horticultural farmers with permanent plantings in South Australia can now access up to $25,000 in rebates for on-farm water infrastructure thanks to a new agreement reached between the Marshall Liberal and Morrison Coalition governments.
The agreement is an extension of the $5 million On-Farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate Scheme in South Australia which was initially only available to livestock producers and will help improve farmers long-term resilience to drought and provide immediate relief.
Growers of permanent crops such as apples, grapes and stone fruits will be able to access rebates of up to $25,000 to install new groundwater bores or desilt dams.
Federal Minister for Water Resources, Drought, Rural Finance, Natural Disaster and Emergency Management David Littleproud said an additional $13.2 million in funding is being made available to make sure demand for the scheme is met.
“Growers in drought affected areas can claim 25 per cent of expenses, up to $25,000 on eligible projects started after 30 June 2019.This will both improve water access now and make better use of farm water in the future,” said Minister Littleproud.
“This will let eligible growers claim the rebate on installing new bores or desilting dams.
“This will both make better use of water and make water more available across valuable permanent plantings.
“Trees and vines can take years to produce fruit. Growers shouldn’t have to start over once the drought breaks.”
South Australian Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone said the rebate scheme expansion was a result of collaboration between the South Australian and Commonwealth governments.
“The Marshall Liberal Government is working closely with the Commonwealth Government on supporting drought-affected farmers with a focus on programs to adapt, prepare and become more resilient,” said Minister Whetstone.
“I welcome the extension of the On-Farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate Scheme to horticultural farmers with permanent plantings and this agreement is a direct result of our government’s strong relationship with the Morrison Coalition Government.
“The State Government is delivering the scheme with more than 100 grants and almost $1 million expended to this point to deliver water to needy sheep and cattle.
“Extending it to permanent plantings makes sense and the extension is another option that farmers I have spoken to have been calling for and I encourage any eligible drought-affected farmers to explore what might be available to them.
“The State government has delivered a range of specific drought assistance programs and services to help our farmers and rural communities remain sustainable for the long-term, including funding for nine Family and Business Support mentors, additional funding for the Rural Financial Counselling Service and significant reduction in the Emergency Service Levy.
“Drought-affected South Australian farmers also have access to a range of additional financial assistance including $26,000 per year for a farming couple through the farm household allowance, up to $2 million in drought concessional loans which could save around $60,000 in interest payments per year, and our farmers have invested an extra $44 million through the Farm Management Deposit Scheme last year.
“The Marshall Liberal Government will continue to receive advice from the Dry Conditions Working Group, which includes South Australia’s peak industry bodies such as Primary Producers SA, Horticulture Coalition of SA, Livestock SA, Pork SA and Grains Producers SA.”