On-Farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate Scheme (EWIRS) FAQ

What is the purpose of the scheme?

The rebate is designed to assist drought affected livestock farmers invest in urgently-needed on-farm water infrastructure. The focus is on improving on-farm water supply to address animal welfare needs, increase resilience against future droughts, increase productivity and mitigate degradation of natural watering points.

For a full list of eligibility criteria, refer to the EWIRS Guidelines (PDF, 144.9 KB).

How is EWIRS funded?

In December 2018, the Commonwealth Government announced EWIRS funding of $50 million nationally over three years, starting in the 2018-19 financial year.  In NSW, $12 million has been allocated over three years and applications to the rebate scheme are administered by the NSW Rural Assistance Authority.

What are the key dates?

  • 1 July 2018 - Work undertaken from this date is eligible for EWIRS
  • 21 December 2018 - EWIRS was launched by Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, David Littleproud and NSW Minister for Regional Water, Niall Blair
  • 14 January 2019 - NSW applications open
  • 30 June 2021 - NSW applications close

What does the scheme cover?

Farmers will be able to access a 25% rebate, up to $25,000 on new purchases and installation costs of water infrastructure projects on-farm across NSW to help them in the current drought and be better prepared for future dry conditions.

This rebate applies to the purchase and installation of emergency water infrastructure for livestock including:

  • Pipes;
  • Water storage devices such as tanks and troughs associated with stock watering;
  • Water pumps;
  • De-silting works of existing dams, where you can demonstrate that the property does not have access to groundwater;
  • Drilling of new stock water bores and associated power supply such as generators;
  • Other materials or equipment necessary to install the above excluding purchase of machinery;
  • Any freight component to purchase and install the equipment;
  • The professional installation costs to install the water infrastructure.

For a list of eligibility activities and expenses, refer to the EWIRS Guidelines (PDF, 144.9 KB).

Can I apply for a rebate using the same invoices I used for my loan under the Drought Assistance Fund (DAF) or Farm Innovation Fund (FIF)?

As the On-Farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate Scheme is Commonwealth funded, invoices used to secure DAF or FIF funding can be submitted for an EWIRS application.

What date can I start claiming the rebate? Can I claim work I did in the past?

You can claim invoices for goods or services that are dated on or after 1 July 2018. This date was determined by the Commonwealth government and is not open to negotiation at a state level.

Are there off-farm asset limitations in the eligibility criteria?

Yes, the eligibility criteria specify that applicants with gross off-farm assets exceeding $5 million are not eligible for this rebate scheme.

As a new farmer, do I need to earn 50% of my income from the farm to be eligible?

To be eligible for the rebate, farm owners and operators must earn more than 50% of their gross income from the primary production enterprise under normal seasonal circumstances.

A “new entrant” includes owners and operators that have commenced their farming operation between 1 July 2015 and 30 June 2018. If this relates to you, then you need to provide a cash flow statement confirming that 50% of your gross income will be derived from the farm business within three years of the date of the application. The applications of new entrants will be considered on a case by case basis.

I submitted the Land and Stock Return online and don’t have a hard copy to attach. Do I need to include this in my application?

Yes, this is required. Local Land Services can send you a copy of your Land and Stock Return if you did not retain a copy. Request a copy from LLS on 1300 795 299.

Do new lambs and calves of existing stock constitute “introducing new livestock” in the eligibility section of the guidelines?

No, any animals born on the property to existing stock do not fall into the category of “new livestock” in the context of the eligibility guidelines.

How is “restocking” determined? Does it include any stock purchase or just large numbers to reestablish original stock levels?

There is not a simple answer to this question and each case will be assessed on its individual circumstances. Complete the Water Availability Statement with your purchases or contact the RAA on 1800 678 593 to discuss your situation.

I bought my own excavator to de-silt my dams. Can I claim this expense?

No - this rebate explicitly excludes the purchase of machinery.

How do I claim expenses where I use my own machinery or equipment?

If you wish to claim expenses incurred from own equipment or machinery, you will need to provide proof of ownership and a full log book including dates, hours of use and litres of fuel, and invoices for any fuel being claimed.

Can I claim equipment purchased pre-1 July 2018 if the work did not start until after 1 July 2018?

No, the work undertaken must link to expenses incurred and this must be after 1 July 2018.

What if my infrastructure benefits domestic and crop needs as well as livestock?

The infrastructure should primarily resolve issues with livestock. For example, materials that lead directly to a house and is clearly for domestic use cannot be claimed. However, where the water infrastructure will support other needs, such as irrigation and domestic water, it will be assessed on a case by case basis.

Can I claim the cleaning of a bore that hasn’t been is use for a long time?

Yes, as long as it improves water availability to stock.