APPLICATIONS OPEN FOR WATER INFRASTRUCTURE FUNDING IN DROUGHT AFFECTED REGIONS

State and Territory Governments are invited to apply for a share of $72 million in water infrastructure funding for drought affected regions, following the Australian Government’s release today of Expressions of Interest (EOI) guidelines for the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund’s special drought round.

Deputy Prime Minister, Nationals Leader and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the drought round was announced in August 2018 as part of the Government’s $1.8 billion drought package.

“The Liberal and Nationals’ Government is very much focused on making sure we are with our farming families, rural businesses and regional communities all the way in this time of need,” Mr McCormack said.

“Just as the drought evolves, so must our policies. There is no place for set and forget. We will continue to engage with farmers to ensure our drought response meets their needs.

“Australia has a great story to tell about our farmers and we need to make sure we do what we can to support and protect them now, more than ever.”

State Governments and their project partners are now encouraged to apply for a share of this funding, with the release of the EOI guidelines today. These guidelines set out the process and requirements for submission and assessment of proposals for funding under the drought round.

The closing date for EOIs to be submitted is 11 December 2018. Projects must be supported by the relevant state or territory government minister and be ready to progress to construction within 12 months of the closing date, to be considered for funding.

The Government has committed almost $2.6 billion to assist state and territory governments to undertake major water infrastructure projects.

This commitment includes $580 million through the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund, including $230 million for water infrastructure in northern Australia.

The $72 million drought round will help the states and territories to deliver greater water security for primary producers, business and communities in drought affected regions.

In addition, the Government has expanded the Drought Communities Programme to provide an extra $75 million, changed tax treatment arrangements for fodder storage assets to make farmers’ lives easier, doubled concessional loans caps to $2 million, committed $22.7 million toward the Great Artesian Basin bore-capping program to improve water efficiency and committed $2.7 million to the Bureau of Meteorology for finer-scale regional weather and climate guides.

“The Government stands shoulder-to-shoulder with our farmers to ensure they can survive the severe and widespread drought that has affected so many. Our farmers are the backbone of the nation, providing the produce all Australians rely on,” said Mr McCormack.

Information, Guidelines and related forms for the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund are available online at infrastructure.gov.au/infrastructure/water-infrastructure/nwi-development-fund

Hannah Maguire