Agriculture ministers from right across the country are set to descend on the North West NSW town of Moree for a special meeting to discuss the ongoing drought, Minister for Agriculture Adam Marshall announced today.
The special AgMin Meeting was called, at Mr Marshall’s request, to provide an update on the crippling drought ravaging parts of NSW, Victoria and Queensland and will give the ministers an opportunity to see first-hand the impacts in NSW and discuss the ongoing response.
Mr Marshall said drought was truly a national issue and he wanted to see a more co-ordinated response from state and Federal governments.
“Drought is truly a national issue and it’s critical that everyone, from all jurisdictions, band together to provide a co-ordinated approach to this pressing issue,” Mr Marshall said.
“Farmers doing it tough on the ground really don’t care about jurisdictional borders – they just want to see firm action to help see them through this terrible drought.
“Meeting in a forum like this will be an important step in getting on the same page and scoping innovative ideas like establishing a ‘one-stop-shop’ for drought assistance, removing duplication of programs and the need for farmers to continually deal with two sets of rules and bureaucracies.
“In my view, it simply doesn’t make sense that a farmer wishing to access assistance would have to speak to numerous government agencies. They should be able to make one call and know up-front what’s on the table for them in terms of support.”
Mr Marshall said the meeting in Moree would also provide the Agriculture Ministers an opportunity to meet with local businesses, farmers and Moree Plains Shire Council and hear first-hand how drought is impacting people on the ground.
“Seeing is believing, so I think it’s important that other ministers – including the Federal Drought Minister – see just how tough things are here for farmers, businesses and communities in NSW,” Mr Marshall said.
“I’m incredibly proud of the State Government’s $1.8 billion drought assistance package but as always I think there’s more than can be done. I look forward to discussing additional ways we can support our hard-working farmers and communities next month.”
The AgMin meeting will take place in Moree on 10 December.