NSW farmers urge state to make call on drought assistance

Beef Central, 09/02/2014

NSW Farmers has urged the NSW Government to "come clean" and make a decision on extending assistance available to Bourke, Brewarrina and Walgett to other areas of the state.

In a statement to media on Monday, the association said thousands of farmers across the north, central and western parts of NSW were in crisis and needed help now.

Survey results from 450 farmers conducted by NSW Farmers revealed areas experiencing drought had extended well beyond the three areas in the north west which were given assistance in November 2013.

The association said strong responses were received from farmers in the Local Land Services regions of Western, Central West, Central Tablelands, Hunter, North West and Northern Tablelands as well as some other areas.

Survey results revealed that drought had forced the destocking of more than 30pc of NSW's cattle numbers and 25pc of its sheep numbers.

Close to 85 percent of those in drought-affected regions with remaining stock were handfeeding them.

In the Coonamble area alone (one area which has not yet received assistance), survey results revealed that farmers’ cattle numbers on average were down by 40 percent and sheep numbers down 36 percent due to destocking.

NSW Farmers’ President Fiona Simson said farmers were making the tough decisions "and it was time the NSW Government did too".

Ms Simson said last week the Federal Agricultural Minister had visited farmers in drought affected areas and listened to their calls and even the Prime Minister had recognised something needed to be done sooner rather than later.

She said some farmers such as those in the far west had been waiting for more than nine weeks for the NSW Government just to make a decision.

“When you are a farmer and you are confronted with feeding stock and carting water on a daily basis – waiting that amount of time for an answer just extends your pain,” Ms Simson said.

“We need some short-term investment in our industry by the state government to ensure our food and fibre opportunities are realised.  Supporting us at this time of crisis is providing an investment in the rural communities and farming businesses for the future,” she concluded.

Source: NSW Farmers 


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