FARMERS affected by the mouse plague will soon be eligible for a 50 percent rebate of up to $10,000 for zinc phosphide bait, after the New South Wales Government added $100 million to the Mouse Control Program.
The Department of Regional New South Wales and the Rural Assistance Authority is yet to develop the zinc phosphide rebate framework, including how primary producers will be able to claim the rebate and the eligibility criteria.
However, Deputy Premier John Barilaro said the new funding would provide financial relief, cash flow and confidence for farmers to place advance orders on zinc phosphide ahead of spring.
“Zinc phosphide is already a tax deductible expense for primary producers and while many are now seeing more promising business activity following the drought, I know the mice plague is stinging the hip pocket, which is why we are providing this rebate,” Mr Barilaro said.
New South Wales Farmers Vice President Xavier Martin said the funding announcement is finally an example of practical support measures from the Government.
“The practical support measure of rebates for zinc phosphide was an initiative from New South Wales Farmers and we thank our many Members for sharing their stories of the widespread impact of this plague,” Mr Martin said.
“The Agriculture Minister, Deputy Premier and the Premier have listened and acted. It’s common sense to support the use of an immediately available chemical which carries fewer secondary poisoning and environmental risks than alternatives,” he said.
Minister for Agriculture Adam Marshall said the State Government is working with manufacturers to help shore up supplies of zinc phosphide.
“We are working to ensure there will be an appropriate supply of zinc phosphide active ingredient by providing $5 million to assist with the costs of transporting it to Australia,” Mr Marshall said.
“We will make sure zinc phosphide baits produced as part of this arrangement are earmarked for sale to New South Wales producers first,” he said.
Mr Martin said the situation is ongoing and will require constant monitoring and flexibility in support measures for what could become the worst mouse plague New South Wales has seen.
“Warnings from CSIRO and responses to a NSW Farmers survey on the plague indicate how dire this situation is. It’s the worst mouse plague for some time, and it could easily get worse without adequate intervention,” Mr Martin said.
“There’s a need to make the rebates available immediately so farmers can control mouse numbers before spring,” he said.
Primary producers who live where they work are already able to claim rebates of up to $1,000 for mouse bait, traps and cleaning products used to protect their homes.
Free grain treatment with bromadiolone for perimeter baiting is still awaiting approval from the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority.
For more information on the Mouse Control Program and rebate criteria, visit www.nsw.gov.au/mice.