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Graziers welcome rebate about-face

Monday, 30th June, 2014

Polpah station owner Annette Turner’s daughter Denika tending to sheep that became trapped in the muddy dam during the height of last summer’s drought. Polpah station owner Annette Turner’s daughter Denika tending to sheep that became trapped in the muddy dam during the height of last summer’s drought.

By Nick Gibbs

NSW graziers will have until the end of the financial year to take advantage of emergency water infrastructure funding following a decision reversal by the Rural Assistance Authority.  

Early last week the RRA advised landholders to stop applying for the rebate as the capital allocated had been fully exhausted.

But following lobbying from groups including NSW Farmers and the Country Women’s Association, the state government now says applications for water infrastructure work completed on or before June 30 will be accepted. 

According to NSW Farmers, graziers who have not lodged an application for a rebate but had infrastructure installed before the deadline will still be eligible provided submissions are received before July 4.

Producers will be entitled to receive the NSW Government’s contribution to the program - a 50 percent rebate up to the value of $20,000.

White Cliffs grazier and CWA member Annette Turner said she was pleased to hear the news and felt it would have positive impact across the region.

“It’s really great they are at least going to have the rebate at 50 per cent,”  she said.

“It hasn’t affected us that much but it has for some people I know.” 

Ms Turner said some landholders had ordered or paid for water infrastructure on the presumption of getting to the rebate.

The difficulty in predicting the costs involved with constructing bores and booking drillers added to the need for the extension.

“It’s not something that happens quickly,”  she said. “It’s surprising how every property is different.”  

The decision has also helped prevent graziers being unable to pay or forced to cancel orders from stock agents, according to Ms Turner.

Her station, Polpah, continues to do it tough with rainfall being hit and miss.

“It really is luck of the draw,”  she said.

During the peak of the drought in late summer, she estimated her daughter Denika had saved over 100 sheep that got trapped in mud while trying to reach the dam water. 

Although using a rope and quad bike to free the animals was not pretty, Ms Turner said it was a reality of life during drought and better than leaving them to die.

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