Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia, Keith Pitt, is urging the New South Wales Government to follow South Australia and Western Australia and fully commit to matching Commonwealth funding to the crucial Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate (EWIR) Scheme.
Minister Pitt said the Coalition Government last year doubled its commitment to $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.
“While we welcome the news today that the New South Wales Minister has agreed to sign up to a new co-funded EWIR scheme, they still haven’t provided certainty for co-contributions going forward,” Minister Pitt said.
“South Australia and Western Australia have signed up, however, New South Wales have essentially said please give us more money and we may or may not sign up.
“It’s time to stop being cute and New South Wales needs to sign up unconditionally.
“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 and there are ongoing co-contributions.
“This is a good deal and the New South Wales Government needs to get this done,” Mr Joyce said.
“If our state won’t match the federal funding, it would mean New South Wales farmers will miss out on this important scheme.
“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.
“So many farmers in our New England electorate have asked for this scheme. We are delivering but the state has to do their part,” Mr Joyce said.