Farmers impacted by drought will be given another 12 months to apply for funding from the On-farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate Scheme (EWIRS) to help them build much needed infrastructure to make their properties drought resilient.
Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt said farmers will now have until June 2022 to utilise the $50 million in funding secured for the EWIRS by the Coalition Government in the 2020-21 Budget.
Member for New England Barnaby Joyce said he had fought hard for this win for farmers and the funds will now be available for another year.
"The Coalition Government has listened to farmers in the New England and recognised the importance of the scheme by doubling the Federal funding available as well as extending the timeframes," Mr Joyce said.
"This is great news for drought affected farmers as these rebates empower farmers to take proactive steps to ensure their properties remain drought resilient.
"This has been a hugely popular program that's made a real difference for thousands of Australian farmers facing the devastating challenges of drought.
"I've heard and seen firsthand how drought affected livestock producers and horticulturalists with permanent plantings have put in bores, dams and pipes - now even more farmers will get this opportunity.
"While the program was and continues to be funded by the Federal Government, it was managed by the State Government, which allowed the program to be heavily oversubscribed and farmers left out of pocket.
"I want to assure those local farmers who have already invested money in good faith in this program that they will be prioritised to be reimbursed.
"It's a pity our farmers have had to wait six months for their State Government to commit to the scheme so they can start work on new projects.
"This is something I believe was unconscionable and in bad faith and one of the reasons I fought so hard to provide Federal funding to right these wrongs."
Federal Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia, Keith Pitt said that this extension came on the back of the Australian Government's commitment of another $50 million in October last year - bringing the total Federal contribution to support farmers to $100 million.
"The scheme can be used to fund small scale on-farm drought proofing water projects, including buying and laying pipes, installing water storage devices, such as tanks and troughs associated with stock watering and desilting dams and water bores," Minister Pitt said.
"Farmers value the rebate because it helps them manage the here-and-now when it comes to keeping livestock watered and permanent plantings alive in a drought - but importantly it also improves productivity so they are better prepared for the next inevitable drought at some point in the future.
"This program is about helping farmers being drought prepared and drought resilient.
"So we're making $25 million of the Commonwealth's $50 million available in 2021-22 along with any underspend from this year."
For more information on the rebate visit the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment website.