The Western Australian Government is seeking support from the Federal Government, as the state’s farmers deal with the escalating impacts of climate change – following the state’s exclusion from the government’s Off-farm Efficiency Program.
Western Australian Water Minister, Dave Kelly, has written to his Federal counterpart Minister Keith Pitt, requesting changes to the eligibility criteria of the recently announced $1.54 billion Off-farm Efficiency Program.
The program currently provides funding for off-farm water efficiency infrastructure projects in Murray Darling Basin States only, leaving Western Australia ineligible to apply.
Western Australian Water Minister, Dave Kelly, said, “The southern half of the State is being hit particularly hard by the impacts of climate change and reduced rainfall, presenting long-term water security challenges for farmers in the regions.
“That’s why the McGowan Government has continued to invest in infrastructure projects that help WA farmers deal with the impacts of climate change, and is helping ensure they have access to reliable drinking water and agricultural and emergency livestock drinking water sources, especially during dry periods when on-farm supplies are depleted.
“I call on Minister Pitt and the Commonwealth to show their support for WA farmers by changing the criteria for the Off-farm Efficiency Program, and enable them to access this important funding.”
Western Australia has received under two per cent of available Commonwealth water management and infrastructure funding over the past ten years, with the majority going to the Murray Darling Basin States.
The Western Australian Government recently announced that it had been successful in securing $20 million for the state’s farmers through the Commonwealth’s National Water Grid Fund Connections funding pathway.
The state advocated for Western Australian farmers for close to 12 months to secure this important funding, whilst investing in agricultural, community and strategic water supplies.
The Western Australian Government has said that the Federal Government’s continued focus on the Murray-Darling Basin States, as demonstrated by the recent announcement of the Off-farm Efficiency Program, means Western Australian farmers have again been excluded from important Federal water infrastructure funding.
“Sadly the Commonwealth has continued to demonstrate its Eastern States focus, and ignored the plight of our agricultural communities with this recent announcement,” Mr Kelly said.
“The Commonwealth Government seems happy to fund dams on the east coast while not supporting WA farmers to secure urgently needed water supplies in the face of climate change.”