Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia says it would be devastating for New South Wales farmers if the state government doesn’t match Commonwealth funding to the crucial water infrastructure rebate scheme.
Minister Pitt said the Coalition Government last year doubled its commitment to the scheme, which is helping farmers become more drought resilient.
“Our Government has provided a total of $100 million for the scheme, which subsidises farmers to install crucial water infrastructure and has proved extremely popular to the point where it was heavily over-subscribed,” Minister Pitt said.
“Unfortunately, the New South Wales Minister is yet to sign up to the agreement, which involves the state matching Commonwealth funding.
“The scheme was managed by state governments and in NSW it was significantly oversubscribed leaving many farmers out of pocket.
“The extra funding we are now providing would see those farmers get their money and allow more on-farm water infrastructure projects to go ahead.
Member for New England Barnaby Joyce said local farmers will miss out unless the NSW Minister signs up.
“I am very concerned to hear the NSW Minister suggest our state won’t match the federal funding, which would mean his farmers miss out on this important scheme,” Mr Joyce said.
“Minister Pitt and I fought hard to secure the new federal funding and it’s time the New South Wales Minister came to the table so that our local farmers can access this important scheme.
“Farmers who’ve been left significantly out of pocket through no fault of their own are being denied a chance to recoup the funding they expected by our state minister.
“The Commonwealth is providing a real opportunity to help those on the land become more resilient to droughts and it would be extremely disappointing if they missed out because of political games from the New South Wales Minister.
“Farmers are not interested in blame games, they want to get access to funding so they can clean out their dams, build new bores and improve pipes that will allow them to water their stock in drought,” Mr Joyce said.
“So many farmers in our New England electorate have asked for this scheme. We are delivering but the state has to do their part.”
Minister Pitt said while some other states contributed to the first round of the rebate scheme, New South Wales hasn’t delivered a cent.
“We are determined to stop the maladministration of this scheme by some states and get the money out the door where it will have a real and positive impact for farmers,” Minister Pitt said.