Greens Justin Field says farmers want action on climate change amid drought

ALLIES: Greens MLC Justin Field said the Greens and farmers were a natural fit. Photo: Jamieson Murphy
ALLIES: Greens MLC Justin Field said the Greens and farmers were a natural fit. Photo: Jamieson Murphy

WITH the state battling the worst drought it’s seen in decades, more and more farmers want action on climate change, Greens politician Justin Field says.

Speaking with farmers from across NSW at AgQuip, Mr Field said many were disappointed in the lack of political leadership on the issue.

Mr Field pointed to the “back-to-back weather extremes” the state was seeing – such as the recent fires around the region in the middle of winter – as an example of what to expect if climate change isn’t addressed.

“This is totally consistent with all of the modelling showing the impact of climate disruption,” he said.

“It was only 15 years ago we had a one-in-100 year drought, and we’ve got another one in 15 years.”

While political stereotypes often pitch the Greens and farmers against each other, Mr Field said the two were a “natural fit”.

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“I think to a large degree farmers have always been environmentalist,” he said.

“They’re really conscious about how the natural cycle impact on their businesses and viability on their land.

“We had a break through at the last state election, with Greens winning in Ballina and coming close in Lismore, which has a really strong agricultural identity

“That reflects the change in attitude of people on the land towards the Greens.”

Mr Field said the first step to protecting farmers from another serious drought, was to stop mining on agricultural land.

“Droughts really do focus people’s attention on water,” he said.

“When they know how much water the coal industry takes and how much water could be at risk from pollution from coal seam gas, people realise what is at risk if you proceed with those industries.”

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