With just over a month until the overarching drought support agreement runs out, Paterson MP Meryl Swanson has urged the federal and state governments to get to work.
She said the intergovernmental agreement on national drought program reform expired at the end of June and there was no new agreement to replace it.
On top of that, when it was signed in 2013 the measures for exceptional circumstances were removed which meant there was no additional help for farmers battling drought, she said.
Ms Swanson said both levels of government must work out assistance measures to help farmers survive the current drought.
They need to get working on the intergovernmental agreement and also in the short term, given nothing has really happened, they need to come up with something to help now given that we are in a drought,Ms Swanson said.
“They’ve taken away exceptional circumstances and they’ve not replaced it with anything meaningful.
“I really believe if you are not going to give exceptional circumstances relief, you have to put something meaningful in place to help when conditions decline.”
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Ms Swanson’s call comes as cattle prices in the Hunter have taken another downward turn.
Most cattle coming through the sale yards aren’t fat, and nobody wants them, so they are being slaughtered. In Maitland they are making $350 less than they were at this time last year.
Rural Aid CEO Charles Alder said he knew of three farmers who had started shooting some of their cattle because they were too weak to endure a trip on a truck.
He said many farmers would struggle to hang onto core breeding stock and keep them alive through the winter months.
The Buy A Bale Hunter campaign has already given farmers more than $830,000 worth of help, but it hasn’t been enough to combat the severe conditions.
In Scone prices have dropped more than 50 per cent and an extra few hundred cattle are moving through the yards.
At Maitland saleyards the drop in price has seen buyers come from as far as Tasmania and South Australia.
“They’ve had a good season in Tasmania and the price of cattle has dropped here so they can afford to buy them and pay to get them down there,” Bowe and Lidbury’s director Tony Bowe said.