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The South Australian Government is adding an additional $3.45 million from its Drought Support Program to a rebate scheme assisting drought-affected farmers in installing on-farm water infrastructure.

The On-Farm Emergency Water Infrastructure rebate scheme was exhausted in early 2020 due to unprecedented interest.

The $21 million Drought Support Program has already provided immediate support through a council rate rebate and pastoral lease rent relief, expanded the Rural Financial Counselling Service, and increased the Family and Business mentor program.

South Australian Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, David Basham, said the increased funding would provide further support to South Australian drought-affected farmers.

“Our farmers are the backbone of the state’s economy and agriculture will be a critical part of our recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic,” Mr Basham said.

“Many parts of South Australia are still suffering through drought and we are proud to continue to support those farmers doing it tough.

“The On-Farm Emergency Water Infrastructure rebate scheme has been very popular, with nearly 450 primary producers across South Australia receiving support so far, and we have expanded the program following feedback from a series of recent drought forums.

“This $3.45 million funding boost will allow more drought-affected farmers to access help and install vital on-farm water infrastructure such as water storages, pumps, pipes, distilling dams, and associated power supplies such as generators.

“Our $21 million Drought Support Program builds on the support measures already in place and we will continue to work with industry and all levels of government to make sure assistance is targeted and effective.”

The On-Farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate program was jointly funded by the State and Federal Governments, and has already been provided to 442 primary producers under the scheme since July 2018.

An extra $2 million will allow existing applications to be processed and $1.45 million will allow potential applicants who have already undertaken work and incurred costs, but not yet applied. 

Those applicants will be entitled to 30 per cent funding (up to $30,000 per application), while the State Government has requested the Commonwealth consider additional funding for the program.

If the Commonwealth fulfils this request it is expected the total support for each applicant would return to $50,000 in line with the original rebate.

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