LOOMBERAH grazier Kevin Tongue has travelled to Sydney with one message to the state’s decision makers: “Get off your arse and do something”.
The frustrated farmer is attending the NSW Farmers state conference, where drought is set to be the biggest topic of discussion both formally and informally.
Mr Tongue, the chair of Tamworth’s NSW Farmers’ branch, said he’ll be putting the wind up any politicians he comes across.
“I’m totally disappointed in our government and our state elected members for not pushing harder for regional NSW,” Mr Tongue said.
“They’ve been so slow in reacting to the problem. They just come out here and get a photo shoot.
“We spoke with [Deputy Premier] John Barilaro eight weeks ago. He said he’d go back and look at how he could assist, and there’s still nothing [about our calls for freight subsidies].”
Mr Tongue couldn’t understand why the state government was ignoring farmers’ calls for freight subsidies.
“They subsidised public transport for passengers in Sydney, why can’t they look after farmers in NSW?” Mr Tongue asked.
“They need to get their act together and get real assistance out there, otherwise some farmers are going to start taking desperate action.”
Mr Tongue also wants NSW Farmers to fully support freight subsidies.
NSW Farmers policy director Kathy Rankin said while the organisation supported freight subsidies, they could be a double-edged sword.
“Freight subsidies are one drought tool as conditions dry,” Ms Rankin said.
“However, they provide a short-term support and may distort or delay important stock management decisions.”
“While the in-drought challenges are front of mind, there is a need to have an eye on the future for when it rains so that farmers can rebuild their business and stock numbers, once feed becomes more readily available.”
Guyra farmer James Jackson was elected as the organisation’s new president.
Mr Jackson succeeds outgoing president Derek Schoen, who did not re-contest the election on constitutional grounds.
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