QUEENSLAND producers can now access up to 75% of eligible costs for water infrastructure activities with the Australian Government's contribution of up to $7 million to the Queensland Government's Drought Relief Assistance Scheme.
Australian Agriculture Minister, Barnaby Joyce, and Queensland Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, John McVeigh, signed an agreement to increase funding for water-related infrastructure rebates announced in November 2013.
Mr Joyce said the water infrastructure rebate provided up to an additional 25% of the expenses eligible applicants receive under the Queensland Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate.
"This contribution will assist farmers in Queensland to invest in infrastructure to supply water for a range of factors including emergency animal welfare needs that will build resilient businesses and help prepare for future droughts," he said.
"Those who had previously applied for a rebate do not need to re-apply to access the additional funding. The Queensland Government will automatically re-assess their application as part of the new guidelines.
"Investments in new watering points and the installation of infrastructure such as piping, tanks, troughs and hoses will help manage pasture on properties and help keep stock away from sensitive watercourses."
Mr McVeigh said the extra $7 million funding would allow Queensland emergency water infrastructure rebates to increase from 50% to up to 75%.
"The 364 farmers who have already got Queensland's emergency water infrastructure rebate, will receive the federal top up in their bank accounts tonight," Mr McVeigh said.
"A further 180 applicants who have been recently processed for the Queensland rebate will receive payments for both the Queensland rebate and the federal top up this week."
This means $1.86 million of the federal top up will be distributed in the coming days.
All successful future claims for the Queensland rebate will be automatically considered for the Australian Government's top up.
Mr McVeigh said the Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate payment was proving a successful program for improving water supplies for drought-affected farms.