News State NSW News Tough times in western New South Wales

Tough times in western New South Wales

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Farmers and Graziers in Western NSW are facing tough times.

A NSW Government-led delegation is meeting with farmers in Walgett, Lightning Ridge, Bourke and Weilmoringle this week to talk drought.

The Minister for Primary Industries Katrina Hodgkinson commissioned the three-day tour, so that her advisors could see the dry conditions for themselves.

Walgett Shire hasn’t had decent rain for 15 months. Some official figures in western NSW show that it has been the driest and warmest 12 months on record.

Farms have destocked, only a handful of people will harvest grain this year and water is becoming a problem.

David Palmer is part of the official delegation.

“We have had 5 public meetings and spoken to well over 150 people,” he said.

“The first concern is that the current conditions are just the culmination of a succession of poor seasons, followed by a flood and then the uncertainty of commodity prices.

“People are concerned that drought policy has been wound back just at a time when this part of the world is really hurting.

“The move away from short-term help measures to a long-term view of drought preparedness is coming at a bad time for this region.

“Many producers here stocked up ahead of this drought, but there is a limit to how much farmers can hold in reserve, and with the bad run of seasons the farmers have not been able to build up any cash reserves.

“We will advise the minister on our observations, but there is no doubt that many people would need short-term help to put food on the table.”