Primary Industries minister Niall Blair has painted a bleak future for farmers, claiming the Labor Party had "forgotten" to include drought assistance in its election commitments.
His comments, just days before Saturday's state election, brought a swift response from Labor, which pointed to more than $1 billion worth of assistance it will offer farmers.
Mr Blair delivered his assessment of the drought and farmers' tough future in Orange on Wednesday.
"As we head into winter the next four weeks are going to be absolutely critical," he said.
"If we don't get decent rainfall we risk the chance of once again missing out on a decent winter crop but also it will be too cold to get any pasture growth, particularly for our livestock producers.
"The outlook unfortunately for our farmers as we head into winter is a bleak one and they need support."
As we head into winter the next four weeks are going to be absolutely critical.Niall Blair, Primary Industries Minister
Mr Blair said Labor would cut the government's drought assistance funding in favour of inner-city residents.
"In NSW we have $30 million that we have been doing projects with our farmers on, about how they can adapt to climate change. To look at different pastures, how to reduce their energy consumption and also looking at how they could capture carbon.
"But unfortunately Labor are going to cancel $30 million worth of projects for farmers and their climate change adaptability and use it to put solar panels on terraces in Newtown."
"We know now from the Labor costings [provided to the Parliamentary budget office] that they have forgotten to include drought assistance in their election commitments. They haven't mentioned the word 'drought' once."
However, Country Labor candidate for Orange, Luke Sanger said Labor had a 10-point program for farm assistance, details of which were contained in a release titled 'Labor backs drought-stricken farmers over Sydney stadiums."
"The drought isn't just about handing money out," Mr Sanger said.
He said the initiatives included providing $1 billion for water security, maintaining current levels of drought assistance, waiving rent payments for 1700 leaseholders of western NSW lands (including around Orange), doubling funding for Landcare and extending the wild dog fence.
"We are sending out 50 mental health experts to help farmers during the drought," Mr Sanger said.
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