'Govt is friend to farmers in dry'

NSW Premier Mike Baird has labelled the state government “the farmers’ friend” after listening to drought-stricken farmers on a tour of the North West yesterday, but failed to announce any further assistance packages.

DROUGHT-PROOFING: Ed Fessey from Bullabelalie, Weilmoringle, with a bore drilled under the Cap and Pipe the Bores program. Photo: Ruth Caskey, The Land

DROUGHT-PROOFING: Ed Fessey from Bullabelalie, Weilmoringle, with a bore drilled under the Cap and Pipe the Bores program. Photo: Ruth Caskey, The Land

In a tour of the region, Mr Baird visited Weilmoringle on the NSW-Queensland border before returning to Tamworth with Primary Industries Minister Katrina Hodgkinson.

Mr Baird and Ms Hodgkinson were joined by member for Barwon and minister for Western NSW Kevin Humphries for the visit.

“Flying over the New England and the North West has given me a clear and alarming picture of just how tough conditions are across the state,” Mr Baird said.

“Despite recent rain over some parts of NSW, some areas in the North West are currently experiencing the driest 12-month 

period in 200 years of rainfall records.”

The Premier said it was one thing to get briefings and information on the drought, but standing there, looking at how dry the property was, was another thing.

“I was very surprised,” he said. 

“To stand on the land and see how dry it is, you can’t imagine how dry it is. 

“Until you go firsthand to see on the ground what people are dealing with, you really don’t have an appreciation, so what I come back with is a much deeper understanding of what our farmers are facing day-to-day out here in the North West. 

“I come back inspired by our farmers and their resilience and what they’re dealing with, but just as much looking for opportunities we, as a government, can 

support, because clearly they’re doing it tough and we need to look at ways we can support them.”

Mr Baird said the focus for assistance was on drought-

proofing and drought preparedness and the visit would help shape future policy.

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