One year on: the fight for survival is still very real

Opinion: What are your thoughts on drought one year on?

National News
HARD TIMES: Hungry sheep waiting for feed in northern NSW. Picture: Steph Stewart

HARD TIMES: Hungry sheep waiting for feed in northern NSW. Picture: Steph Stewart

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It has been one year since the NSW Drought Petition was debated in Macquarie Street.

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One year has passed since the NSW Drought Petition was debated in Macquarie Street.

It gave drought-ravaged farmers across the state a chance to have their voices heard and call on the government to deliver a range of measures that would have reduced the impact of the big dry.

Fast forward a year and the drought is even more rife. Towns are running out of water, business owners are struggling, and life on the farm is a real fight for survival plagued by high fodder costs and a shrinking water supply.

There has been more support from the state and federal governments in the past 12 months, but is it enough?

There were21,000 people who signed the petition calling for a range of measures. How are they feeling about the current situation? What do they think is needed going forward?

What's the plan for our water security?

What's the plan to help each farmer survive this drought so they can go on to help sustain our food bowl?

What's the plan for our food security so we can keep eating food that is produced by Australian farmers?

Next month the AgMin meeting will be held in Moree - at the request of NSW Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall. It will bring all of the country's agriculture ministers, including federal Agriculture Minister Bridget McKenzie and Drought and Water Minister David Littleproud to the same table.

Having all those ministers at the same table is a positive step, but, how will they use that time to make a strong plan going forward? Will it be yet another talk fest?

BARREN: A once productive farming paddock at Wellington.

BARREN: A once productive farming paddock at Wellington.

We're almost at the end of yet another year with very little rainfall. We don't know what 2020 will hold. Of course we have our fingers and toes crossed that the drought breaks soon. But what if it doesn't?

I contacted NSW Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall's media advisor on November 21 to request an interview about the drought. I was told Mr Marshall is so busy that he cannot speak to me until late this week, and I am still waiting for the date and time to be confirmed. I'm keen to hear his point of view and find out what he has to say about the 'bigger picture' of this unrelenting drought.

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