Parkes Electorate: Central West Drought Action Group
Mr COULTON (Parkes) (6.40 pm)-Tonight I rise to speak on behalf of the farmers in an area in my electorate who have formed an organisation known as the Central West Drought Action Group. These are farmers from the Mendooran, Dunedoo and Mudgee part of New South Wales. Last week they got the news from Minister Burke that their application for an exceptional circumstances declaration was denied on the recommendation of the NRAC. On behalf of those farmers, I would like to ask the minister to reconsider and to personally intervene.
Tonight I have sent the minister a letter cosigned by the shadow minister for agriculture, the Hon. John Cobb, pointing out that I believe that these farmers were not given due consideration. The problem with the methodology is that, because the farmers have been in 10 years of drought, when it comes to identifying the exceptional circumstances of a one-in-25-year rainfall event they miss out, because the average is much lower because of what happened in the previous 10 years. The irony of this situation is that, if they had had the same application 10 years ago, when they were in much more financial-(Time expired)