Farmers hosting wind turbines will be able to claim additional financial benefits for their businesses and families if a new tax amendment is passed by Federal Parliament, the Clean Energy Council said today.

Clean Energy Council Deputy Chief Executive Kane Thornton said the proposed changes would help farmers earn more income from activities other than traditional farming and still be eligible for the Farm Management Deposit Scheme.

“The Farm Management Deposit Scheme is an important initiative that helps farmers use the revenue from successful years to support their income during leaner periods,” said Mr Thornton.

“The amendment would increase the allowed threshold for ‘off-farm income’ for farmers participating in the program. This means that farmers could earn more money from hosting wind farms, without it affecting their ability to use the scheme to bank their farming income and withdraw it during tough times at a more favourable tax rate.

“Life on the land is tough and getting tougher. The Federal Government should be congratulated for  an amendment that basically helps farmers to help themselves, and we encourage all sides of politics to get behind something that makes it easier for many of those involved in primary production,” he said.

Mr Thornton said income from hosting wind turbines could make a real difference in helping farmers drought-proof their properties, providing additional, and stable, sources of revenue outside of growing crops and running stock.

“Wind farms perfectly complement traditional agriculture. They don’t use any water, they have a small footprint on the land, and the extra roads built by the wind farm developer can be a real help to farmers for property access and as fire breaks,” he said.

“In many cases we have seen that hosting wind turbines has been the difference between staying on the land and being forced to sell the family farm.

“Favourable tax regulations will not only benefit farmers, they will also benefit electricity consumers as we grow our clean energy resources at the lowest possible cost under the Renewable Energy Target.”

Please contact Clean Energy Council Media Manager Mark Bretherton on 0413 556 981 for more information or to arrange an interview.