New South Wales Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall has announced a further $100 million to tackle the mouse plague as farmers continue to struggle through the crisis.
- Adam Marshall says the rebate is based on farmers’ median spend since February on zinc phosphide
- The announcement follows calls from NSW Farmers and the CWA for a $25,000 rebate
- The plague continues apace in NSW amid growing desperation to get the situation under control before spring
The move follows last month’s commitment of $50 million for the first support package.
Soon primary producers will be able to claim a 50 per cent rebate – up to $10,000 – for zinc phosphide bait.
“The reason the government’s taking this action is based on new advice from the CSIRO indicating that this mouse plague could indeed be worse than anyone expected,” Mr Marshall said.
‘Worst in a very long time’
Late last month NSW Farmers and the CWA of NSW called on the state government to provide $25,000 rebates.
Mr Marshall said today’s announcement was made after consultation with both groups.
“The figure hasn’t just been plucked out of the air,” he said.
“It’s been based on a lot of analysis and information that’s been provided by multiple sources including suppliers, the Department of Regional NSW, and the CWA and NSW Farmers Association based on their survey of their members.
Mr Marshall said the scheme was designed to “help the hip pocket of farmers” and will be backdated to purchases made since February 1.
He said it was important to recognise that this was the “worst plague” the state had seen in a “very long time” and that it could drag on “longer than anticipated”.
Farmers have been granted approval to double the amount of zinc phosphide, which is also tax deductible.
Rebate will be backdated
Mr Marshall also announced that the government would put $5m aside to “shore up” the zinc phosphide supply chain and assist with international and domestic freight costs.
He said while there were no “major issues with availability”, supply was “patchy” in some parts of the state.
The rebates come in addition to household and small business rebates, which eligible residents and business owners can apply for through Service NSW.
The Minister said primary producer rebates would be available from next month through the NSW Rural Assistance Authority, which also handles drought and bushfire support access.
“Like the household and the small business rebate, [it will cover] cost incurred from the first of February, so there’s consistency across all three rebate programs,” Mr Marshall said.
The date for when rebate applications will open is yet to be announced.
The NSW Government previously acquired 5,000 litres of bromadiolone – a high strength poison – within Australia and is awaiting approval for its use from the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority.
Another 6,000 litres are set to arrive from India within a fortnight.
‘A here and now problem’
NSW Farmers president James Jackson said the news showed the state government was acknowledging its role in the situation.
“It is a recognition that the problem is a here and now problem,” he said.
MrJackson said the rebates would help and praised the previously announced “strategic response” of the $1.8m allocated to finding a genetic biocontrol.
He said it was “possibly one of the worst [mouse] plagues ever”.
“While issues west of the mountain are not in the immediate eye line of a lot of the people in Macquarie Street, it is a significant problem,” Mr Jackson said.
“While we hope that this cold weather puts a dent in the mouse numbers, the scientists tell us while they’ve still got feed they will survive.”
Mr Jackson said it was not only a problem in the paddock — the plague was also having adverse impacts on the physical and mental health of residents living in mouse-ridden areas.