Farmers tell government drought action can’t wait

NSW Farmers Association urgently called on Primary Industries Minister Katrina Hodgkinson today to take action to help drought affected farmers in the north west of NSW, many who are already in crisis.

The association said that while it was pleased the Minister had finally realised farmers were in a crisis situation emotionally and financially - time was of the essence.

NSW Farmers President Fiona Simson said the Minister should not delay the process by consulting with the Queensland and Federal Governments because this was a NSW Government decision.

“The farmers in the north west have been dealing with this for 18 months and we have been raising it since the very first meeting of the Regional Assistance Advisory Committee in February 2013,” she said.

“We have been sitting around the table at this committee reporting to the minister on seasonal conditions and telling her about this increasingly precarious situation for our farmers and rural communities in the north west.

“Now is the time to stop talking. The committee chair has seen the north west, he has reported back to the Minister on how bad things are. Right now our farmers don’t want another visit – they want action.

“The sensible thing for the NSW Government to do is reinstate pre-February drought support measures until new measures are put in place at the state and federal level. But at the moment there is nothing for our farmers to fall back on – many who have been preparing and managing extremely dry conditions for 18 months.

“How many letters, reports, surveys and maps does it take before a Minister recognises that farmers in the north west are in crisis?” Ms Simson said.

NSW Farmers has written to Minister Hodgkinson urgently asking for subsidies for transport to and from agistment, for feed and water and to sale from June 2013 and for low interest loans similar to current loans available for natural disasters.

Contact: Veneta Chapple

Phone: 0429 990 218

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