Government’s drought action must go beyond coordinator, say farmers

LATEST MOVE: Newly-appointed drought coordinator Pip Job and NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian. Photo: DAILY LIBERAL
LATEST MOVE: Newly-appointed drought coordinator Pip Job and NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian. Photo: DAILY LIBERAL

NSW Farmers want action not talk from the State government in regards to drought assistance measures.

This week Geurie’s Pip Job was tasked with helping NSW get through what is being described as the worst drought in more than 20 years.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Minister for Primary Industries Niall Blair travelled to Dubbo on Monday to announce Ms Job would be NSW’s Drought Coordinator, with a third of the state considered to be in drought.

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NSW Farmers’ Rural Affairs Committee Chair Sonia O’Keefe said the government’s response to the state’s worsening drought conditions must go beyond the new appointment.

“It’s important politicians listen to farmers’ concerns and while well-intentioned, the appointment of a drought coordinator will not address the needs of farmers who have limited access to water or feed, and no rain,” she said.

“In Western NSW farmers are facing their fourth year of low or no rainfall. As the drought conditions worsen, farmers will be making hard decisions to manage their enterprises, families will be managing tightening budgets, and local suppliers will see falling trade.

“We call on the NSW Government to set funding aside for a Drought Preparedness Centre of Excellence, as well as three additional Doppler radars to cover the Central West and the Western Division of the State to enhance weather forecasting and climate data gathering and analysis.

“We congratulate Pip Job on her appointment and encourage her, the Department of Primary Industries and Local Land Services to listen to the issues of farmers who are having to make difficult decisions to get through the worsening seasonal conditions.”

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Yeoval farmer Chris Haycock said he wants additional funding and subsidies now.

“We’re all going to go under if we don’t get help soon so I think the Government is just going to have to help us now,” he said.

“Stock can’t live on nothing, they are just going to start dying.

“I get sick of shooting cows every week, there is just no future.”

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