HORTICULTURE producers with permanent plantings can now access the On-Farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate with NSW now signing up to the extension.
It will allow producers to claim 25 per cent of expenses, up to $25,000, on eligible projects started after June 30, 2019.
Among the eligible projects are: installing new pipes, water storage, water pumps, drilling bores and desilting dams.
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Calare MP and Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister, Andrew Gee, said it was a vitally important federal program and a decision which he stressed would help save valuable trees and vines during the drought.
"Trees and vines can take years to produce fruit. Growers shouldn't have to start over once the drought breaks," he said.
Importantly, Mr Gee said growers could also claim the cost of associated power supplies such as generators.
Trees and vines can take years to produce fruit. Growers shouldn't have to start over once the drought breaks.Calare MP Andrew Gee
"This drought has been devastating right across the agriculture sector, and the extension of this scheme recognises the impact on our essential horticultural industries," he said.
"Many growers are simply running out of water. This extension will make better use of water, while making water more available across valuable permanent plantings."
Mr Gee said a lot of fruit growers around the region were at higher altitudes where there was not a lot of run-off, even when it rains, and during these dry times the only option they have is to drill for more water.
"This can often be an expensive practice, which is why orchardists in the Central West have been lobbying so hard to get this scheme extended to cover horticulture," he said.
"I want to pay tribute to Central Western vignerons and orchardists such Orange's Guy Gaeta, who have led the way in ensuring this extension remained on the national agenda and that horticulture was included.
"It looks like it's going to be a long, hot spring and summer, which will be even more worrying and stressful for our farmers. As conditions deteriorate drought support will need to be ramped up."
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Minister for Drought David Littleproud said the Federal Government had taken steps to make sure there was enough money to expand the scheme.
"An additional $13.2 million in funding is being made available to make sure demand for the scheme is met," he said.
The scheme can be accessed through the Rural Assistance Authority, for more information call 1800 678 593.
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