Drought-affected farmers in NSW are set to benefit from additional assistance to deal with feral animals and pests, and increased funding for the NSW Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate program.
Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, said that the Australian Government today approved $2.4 million in funding to help farmers in NSW deal with feral animals and pests, and the government is also expecting to sign off on up to $4 million for the NSW Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate program in the coming weeks.
NSW Minister for Primary Industries, Katrina Hodgkinson, said the NSW Government has also allocated an additional $8 million to the Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate as part of its drought funding for the 2014-15 financial year.
“This is a great program – it helps farmers deal with the in-crisis issue of providing water to livestock, while also enabling them to install crucial infrastructure to better cope with future droughts,” Ms Hodgkinson said.
“By 30 June 2014, the Rural Assistance Authority (RAA) will have already paid $9 million to more than 800 drought-affected farmers through this program.
“Applications are being processed in the order of receipt and applications received in the 2013-14 financial year will be rolled over to the new financial year.
“Due to the popularity of the program, funding for the 2014-15 financial year is already close to being fully subscribed so I strongly urge interested landholders to contact the RAA before undertaking any works.”
Minister Joyce said that the Australian Government was pleased to provide a $4 million contribution to the Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate program in NSW.
“This program helps farmers invest in new watering points, and funds the installation of infrastructure such as piping, tanks, troughs and hoses will help meet emergency animal welfare needs and will also assist farmers to manage pasture on properties and help keep stock away from sensitive watercourses.
“This will help farmers in NSW invest in infrastructure to supply water and build resilient businesses and help prepare for future droughts,” Minister Joyce said.
Minister Joyce said that the new $2.4 million funding for pests and feral animals will help manage the impacts that predators, such as wild dogs, feral pigs and foxes, have on stock concentrated around fewer watering points.
“We know that pest animals, like wild dogs and pigs, are a huge problem for Australian farmers and in drought these pests become even more of an issue.
“These measures are part of the drought support scheme I announced in late February. There are a range of other support measures available now for farmers in need who are doing it tough. I encourage farmers not to self-assess, but to seek help and find out what’s available.”
Ms Hodgkinson said the pest management funding will be delivered through Local Land Services to drought-affected farmers and will expand the work of pest animal projects already underway, giving these initiatives a much-needed boost.
“Priorities for NSW include expanding aerial wild dog baiting programs and aerial feral pig control programs.
“The funding will also be put towards developing and implementing projects that will build on existing farmer led control programs to reduce the impacts of pest animals on the environment and farm businesses.”
More information on assistance available to farmers is available at daff.gov.au/assistance.