Federal Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, and Federal Member for Parkes, Mark Coulton, are meeting farmers on their properties across the North West this weekend to discuss worsening drought conditions.
In addition to speaking with local landholders Minister Joyce and Mr Coulton will meet with Mayors from Bourke, Brewarrina, Walgett and Coonamble Councils to discuss the drought.
Minister Joyce said the opportunity to get on-farm to talk with people directly affected by drought was one he was glad to have.
“There are many farmers, and their families, who are doing it tough and facing challenging circumstances in many regions across Australia; not least the north-west,” Minister Joyce said.
“The family farm is a central plank of our national economy and we need to make sure viable farmers have the chance to both prepare for and then survive droughts.
“Farmers still have to work and live during a drought, and some have to work harder feeding stock and carting water than they do in a good season. The problem is they don’t get paid.
“People should not forget that there are assistance measures available to farmers now that are not confined to drought and do not require a drought declaration to be accessed.
“But I want to hear how this is working on-farm.”
Mr Coulton said Minister Joyce had a sound understanding of the severity of conditions and the difficulties farmers were facing.
“I welcome the Agriculture Minister’s visit to the Parkes Electorate. It is important that the Minister gets to speak to landholders on the ground,” Mr Coulton said.
“Drought conditions have been biting for some time across the North West of the Electorate. Things are tough for a lot of people,” Mr Coulton said.
“The lack of rain over the last couple of years, with two years of flooding prior to that and the millennium drought have all compounded and added to the seriousness of the situation.”
For more information about current farmer support measures go to: http://www.daff.gov.au/agriculture-food/drought/assistance