$4.6 million cash promise to improve infrastructure

Headshot of Cally Dupe
Cally DupeCountryman
Lake Grace farmer Noel Bairstow.
Camera IconLake Grace farmer Noel Bairstow. Credit: Cally Dupe

It’s not the multimillion, ongoing State Farm Water Rebate Scheme he asked for but Lake Grace farmer Noel Bairstow is pretty happy with a new, Federal Government National Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate Scheme.

WA dryland farmers with livestock, on both broadacre and pastoral properties, can now apply for the rebate to fund up to 25 per cent of costs, to a maximum of $25,000, related to purchasing and installing on-farm water infrastructure.

The Federal Government opened the $4.6 million, three–year scheme last month, after first announcing it late last year.

Eligible items include water storage devices such as tanks, troughs, pipes, fittings and pumps, new bores and hiring a contractor to de-silt dams.

In a statement, the Federal Government said the scheme aimed to “help farmers ensure animal welfare needs were being met and improve resilience against stock water deficiencies”.

Rebates can be applied to costs incurred by farmers from June 30, 2018, with applications closing on April 30, 2021, or when the funding allocation runs out.

Mr Bairstow has been advocating for the State Government to reinstate the abolished Farm Water Rebate Scheme, after it was scrapped by WA Labor last June.

For 23 years, the scheme funded more than $36 million in rebates at farming properties and $1.4 million at pastoral properties.

Mr Bairstow said he would continue to lobby the Government to chip in and help farmers.

“We are very grateful for this Federal grant...but it doesn’t go far enough. They need to go to 50 per cent to get the water on farms,” he said.

Mr Bairstow farms at Mallee Hill, which is one of three areas the State Government is carting water to after being declared water deficient in May.

Under the State scheme, farmers could claim up to 50 per cent of expenditure, up to $15,000 per business, every 10 years.

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