Rundle amplifies calls to return water rebate scheme

Zach RelphCountryman
Nationals Member for Roe Peter Rundle and Newdegate farmer Russell Orr.
Camera IconNationals Member for Roe Peter Rundle and Newdegate farmer Russell Orr. Credit: Zach Relph/Countryman

Nationals Member for Roe Peter Rundle has amplified calls for a defunct WA water scheme to be reintroduced to help farmers overcome testing dry spells.

Mr Rundle doubled down on reinstating the State’s Farm Water Rebate Scheme at the WAFarmers meeting in Newdegate last Tuesday, as parched conditions continue in key agricultural areas.

It had been in place for 20 years before the McGowan Government scrapped the funding in June 2018.

Mr Rundle told last Tuesday’s public forum that the scheme would benefit the State’s farmers enduring tough conditions, if reimplemented.

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“We should look to reinstate the Farm Water Rebate Scheme,” he said.

“I’ll certainly be putting pressure on Minister (Dave) Kelly about doing that.”

The calls come while the WA south coast endures an ongoing dry spell, with the State Government last year declaring six areas water deficient.

Emergency livestock water is being carted into two areas within the Shire of Lake Grace.

Water carting to the Mallee Hill area began last May and has also been helping farmers near Ardler Road, south of Newdegate, since December.

Responding to Mr Rundle’s calls for the Farm Water Rebate Scheme to be reinstated, WA Water Minister Dave Kelly said the decision to move away from the scheme strengthened entire communities rather than individual properties.

“The Farm Water Rebate Scheme had been in place for 20 years to raise awareness in the farming community about the need to plan and develop farm water supplies that conserve water on their properties and increase resilience to climate change,” he said.

“After 20 years that message was well and truly established. With this message in place we decided to re-prioritise funding for community water supplies for the benefit of the whole community, rather than subsidising individual farms.”

Mr Kelly said the Federal Government also needed to help.

“We need action on climate change by the Federal Government and we need a fairer share of Commonwealth water and drought funding to come to WA,” he said.

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