Wednesday, 17 July 2019
NORTHERN Tablelands MP and Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall is hopeful a high profile drought forum in Dubbo tomorrow will result in more cohesion between tiers of government in tackling devastating drought conditions.
Mr Marshall, alongside Deputy Premier John Barilaro, will tomorrow join Prime Minister Scott Morrison and leaders from the agriculture sector to discuss future measures to drought proof regional communities and help primary producers get back on their feet when the drought breaks.
Mr Marshall said it’s time the Commonwealth and States start co-operating on ways to deal with what has become a national emergency.
“In my opinion there needs to be a lot more even spread of the ‘heavy lifting’ in supporting farmers and country communities through this difficult time,” Mr Marshall said.
“The NSW Government has put forward a comprehensive $1.8 billion drought assistance package, which increases transport subsidies, more flexible conditions on drought assistance and extra cash for drought-proofing infrastructure.
“In our region the Federal Government has been missing when it comes to supporting drought-proofing infrastructure like the $13 million Malpas Dam to Guyra pipeline – that needs to change.
“I want to see Canberra working more constructively with NSW to deliver projects like the raising of the Malpas Dam wall, which will not only increase the water supply of Armidale and Guyra but will stimulate jobs and the economy in drought stricken communities during the construction phase.”
Mr Marshall said the forum would be an outlet to discuss what measures were needed to support farmers when the drought breaks.
“It’s time for both levels of government to have an in depth conversation about what they will do to help the agriculture sector rebuild once the rains come,” he said.
“That’s why I’m heading to Canberra next week for face-to-face meetings with the Commonwealth Drought and Agriculture Ministers.
“The cost to farmers of restocking will go through the roof when the drought breaks and graziers are again in a positon to feed sheep and cattle. I fear there will be a lot of farmers who are simply not going to be able to have the cash to buy back in which is going to cause a major hole in the region’s productivity.
“The agriculture sector is such a big employer and contributor to the economy and governments have a role to play to help it rebuild quickly.”