PRIMARY Industries Minister Katrina Hodgkinson will take a long list of demands from drought-stricken producers to the Standing Council on Primary Industries (SCOPI) meeting this week, after a day touring north west NSW.
Ms Hodgkinson and Member for Barwon and Minister for Western NSW, Kevin Humphries, visited properties near Walgett, Brewarrina and Lightning Ridge.
Ms Hodgkinson was applauded for last month's drought relief measures, but also reminded of how much more help producers in these parts need.
“Yesterday’s visit has reinforced to me the extreme challenges facing these communities and landholders,” she said.
“Many of the farmers I visited have been feeding stock for a number of months and have simply been unable to plant a winter crop.
“These are viable rural communities and enterprises and the primary producers I met with yesterday have done everything they can to prepare for adverse seasonal conditions."
Cameron Rowntree in Walgett is feeding grain and hay to his cattle every day, and similar stories were heard on other properties throughout the day.
Some of the suggestions for further drought assistance included interest rate subsidies for farming operations related to drought preparedness, and further investigation of the native vegetation act to ease red tape burdens.
Ms Hodgkinson said many of the suggestions from the tour relied on the federal government and she would discuss them all with Barnaby Joyce at the SCOPI meeting this Friday.
Mr Humphries said many graziers have de-stocked back to core breeding stock.
“These landholders are very good at what they do and have undertaken extensive work to prepare for drought but after 18 months it becomes extremely difficult to cope,” he said.
“We need to work closely with the new Commonwealth government on a new long-term drought package which encourages self-help through taxation reform.”
Ms Hodgkinson said the Regional Assistance Advisory Committee (RAAC) was continuing to monitor seasonal conditions in regions surrounding the Bourke, Brewarrina and Walgett local government areas. The RAAC will provide recommendations and feedback on local situations to the NSW government as required.