NSW CWA president Annette Turner calls for more drought support

The Country Women’s Association has long fought the battle for a fair go.

And with the latest statistics showing more of the state is dipping into drought the group has called on the NSW government to act quickly to protect the food bowl. 

NSW CWA president Annette Turner put forward an emergency motion at their state conference in Armidale on Wednesday which called on the government to offer a broader range of drought-support measures and significantly increase the drought funding available to farmers. 

It also urged the government to review the requirements needed to access support and an overhaul of the way drought areas are identified and classified.

Her motion came after CWA groups from across the state, including the Hunter’s 18 branches, raised concerns about the severity of the drought and its impact on farmers, their animals and their communities. 

It was met with overwhelming support.

CALL FOR HELP: NSW CWA president Annette Turner.

CALL FOR HELP: NSW CWA president Annette Turner.

Mrs Turner noted farmers and their animals were not the only ones who suffered during drought. 

It’s getting more desperate by the day and the NSW Government needs to act now if we’re to avert a major crisis. More support measures are urgently needed and the ones that are in place need to be reviewed, particularly when it comes to an often ambiguous and complex application process,

NSW CWA president Annette Turner

“The communities in which they live are also feeling the pain, such as the small businesses in these areas that rely on the support of our farm families. There really is a knock-on effect.”

The motion comes as the NSW Combined Drought Indicator – the government’s latest way to identify areas in drought – reveals worrying data.

Here it is in a nutshell:

  • 40 per cent of the Hunter is in drought
  • 44 per cent is at the onset of drought
  • 16 per cent could dip into drought or recover
  • In the past two months the amount of Hunter land at the onset of drought has more than doubled
HUNTER DROUGHT: A map of the Hunter shows 40 per cent of the Hunter is in drought, 44 per cent is at the onset of drought and 16 per cent could dip into drought or recover. In the past two months the amount of Hunter land at the onset of drought has more than doubled. Source: Combined Drought Indicator.

HUNTER DROUGHT: A map of the Hunter shows 40 per cent of the Hunter is in drought, 44 per cent is at the onset of drought and 16 per cent could dip into drought or recover. In the past two months the amount of Hunter land at the onset of drought has more than doubled. Source: Combined Drought Indicator.

Across NSW it’s a similar story with almost 39 per cent of the state in drought or at the onset of drought, and almost 60 per cent listed as borderline. 

STATE DROUGHT: A map of NSW showing 39 per cent of the state in drought or at the onset of drought, and almost 60 per cent listed as borderline. Source: Combined Drought Indicator.

STATE DROUGHT: A map of NSW showing 39 per cent of the state in drought or at the onset of drought, and almost 60 per cent listed as borderline. Source: Combined Drought Indicator.

The Buy A Bale Hunter campaign – a partnership between the Mercury, Newcastle Herald, Dungog Chronicle, Scone Advocate, Hunter Valley News and charity Rural Aid – has provided Upper and Lower Hunter farmers with more than $520,000 worth of help since February.

THE BIG DRY: Pictures of the drought taken in February 2018.

THE BIG DRY: Pictures of the drought taken in February 2018.

Rural Aid CEO Charles Alder said many farmers still had no feed in their paddocks and were facing serious challenges as they contemplated how they would keep stock alive through winter. 

Those in the Upper Hunter are still waiting for rain to fall on their parched paddocks.

It looks like a desert up there, dams are dry or are drying up and there is a critical need for fodder,

Rural Aid CEO Charles Alder

To make a donation to the campaign visit buyabale.com.au/Hunter 

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