Two farmers have pleaded with the Morrison government to start looking at permanent solutions to deal with the drought.
Doug Andrews and Jimmy Barton, both from properties in northern New South Wales, said the Commonwealth needs to declare a national disaster in order to free-up cash to help farmers.
“They’ve really stepped around the issue, we’re in a really unprecedented time,” Mr Andrews told Alan Jones, who was broadcasting from Harvey Norman Dubbo this morning as part of his ‘Live from the bush’ series.
“They haven’t seen this situation before, we’ve got to step up and stop blaming and start looking at solutions.
“We need to declare this a national disaster…but we need to look past this, we need to look for national solutions, but how do you prepare if you’ve got nothing to prepare with?”
Mr Andrews said the government’s household support allowance “doesn’t cover it” when it comes to looking after regional Australia.
“If we can’t look after our regional business, we won’t have regional Australia,” he said.
“They keep on harping back on this preparedness…I get a bit over it,” Mr Barton said.
“We used to have a water problem at home, but we’ve fixed that…water is just something we don’t even have to think about now, but we’ve got a feed problem now – no feed, no stock.”
Both men said regional centres are the ones suffering.
“It’s all about providing something, a reconstructive thing…giving opportunities for young people to come back to regional centres,” Mr Andrews said.
The former Dubbo Mayor, Matthew Dickerson, agrees. He said claims the city is running out of water is damaging to tourism.
“Retail is being impacted, hoteliers, restaurants not getting reservations…local council is largely to blame,” he told Jones.
“The answer is first of all, get the facts, get the data…getting the correct information out there to your listeners to say, we’ve got enough water, we’ve got ample water, turn the tap on.
“The message is, we’ve got enough water because we’ve built the infrastructure to make sure we’ve got a community that’s strong going forward.”