State agriculture minister Adam Marshall has accused his federal Coalition counterpart David Littleproud of bullying the NSW government by insisting $2 million for bat netting be spent exclusively in Andrew Gee's federal seat of Calare.
The federal government will give NSW $2 million to spend on netting, but only on the proviso it is spent in the Central West.
"The state's farmers are being ripped off and we will not be bullied into signing up onto an unfair program that will disadvantage our primary producers," Mr Marshall told the Central Western Daily.
"The NSW government is seriously concerned with the opaque funding model used by the Commonwealth government to justify funding levels for the netting program."
Mr Marshall wanted to know why South Australia had received considerably more funding than NSW.
"Whether pears, cherries or apples, NSW plantings are broadly in line with South Australia so how can the Commonwealth justify South Australia receiving seven times more funding than NSW?
"If the funding was based on evidence - not politics - NSW and SA would receive roughly the same amount of funding."
Mr Marshall said that until the state was told "how the Commonwealth came to these figures ... we will not be supporting this program until they can explain why they are not fairly supporting our state's growers".
He said he had written to Mr Littleproud "seeking an urgent explanation".
Mr Littleproud responded to Mr Marshall's broadside by saying that the $2 million was part of a netting trial.
"If this is a priority for NSW the minister Marshall should provide state funding for netting to NSW farmers now.
"If Adam Marshall doesn't want to sign the agreement for the funding then that's his prerogative, we will simply allocate that portion of funding to the other states."
Mr Littleproud did not respond a question about why South Australia received $12 million more than NSW.
Mr Gee said that the decision to host the whole of the $2 million trial in Calare was made by Mr Littleproud.
"It's important that all levels of government support our orchardists in what has been a difficult year and I hope that NSW can now join us in funding this vital program."
Growers Peter West and Guy Gaeta have called on the funds to be released so that farmers in need can net their trees.
About 60 percent of Mr West's trees are netted. "We do more as cash flow permits," he said.