Organisations across regional Victoria are being encouraged to apply for their share in $150 million in funding, as part of the Liberal and Nationals Government’s Off-farm Efficiency Grants Program.
Minister for Resources and Water, Keith Pitt and Nationals Senate Leader and Senator for Victoria, Bridget McKenzie said applications are now open for the program, which are a key part of the Australian Government’s commitment to put communities back at the heart of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.
Minister Pitt said the program will generate water savings for the environment while also making more usable water available to farmers.
“$150 million is on the table through the Off-farm Efficiency Grants Program to help make our irrigation networks as efficient as possible, and to deliver commitments under the Basin Plan to enhance environmental outcomes,” Minister Pitt said.
“Funding will be made available over three years from 2021-22 to 2023-24 for smaller-scale projects with a minimum grant amount of $50,000.
“These grants are aimed at supporting projects that may not be brought forward separate to the $1.33 billion committed by the Commonwealth to the Off-farm stream managed by states.
“Working with the states, local organisations and irrigators through this grant program will generate jobs, improve delivery of water to farms, and increase water available for growing crops – all while contributing towards the target.
“We’ve put an end to water buybacks and we’re putting communities back at the heart of Basin Plan implementation. Saving water through the Off-Farm Program is a win for both farmers and for the environment.
“We consulted with Basin communities and those who own and operate off-farm irrigation infrastructure about these grants and today we’ve released the guidelines and opened for applications.
Senator McKenzie said the program provides the opportunity for local irrigation groups in regional Victoria to get key projects up and running.
“I encourage our local organisations and entities interested in applying to read the documentation to see if their great idea can help meet the program aims and then commence their application,” Senator McKenzie said.
“These grant guidelines provide important information, like eligibility requirements, assessment criteria and details on the grant selection process.
“Importantly all projects need to produce positive or neutral socio-economic benefits for the region and would need to work with the state Victorian government to undertake socio-economic testing and public consultations.”
For more information on the guidelines around the Off-farm Efficiency Grants Program and to apply, visit: https://business.gov.au/ofegp