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Nationals Drought Task Force to Visit Western NSW Drought Area

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Federal Leader of the National Party, Tim Fischer will lead a National Party Task Force to the Western Division of NSW next week. The Task Force will include Noel Hicks HP and Michael Cobb HP and Senator David Brownhill.

"Previous visits I have made to the Western NSW Drought pointed to the unfolding disaster which has now reached mammoth

proportions," Mr Fischer said today.

"At that time I was told of situations where total farm income had ceased and that it was costing many thousands of dollars to maintain basic functions and to preserve breeding stock and many more properties are now in a perilous situation.

"There is a resolute spirit in the West that will 'tough o u t ' the drought, however this spirit has not been helped by costs and still high interest rates at a time when the drought began and since then, sympathy but very little else from the Government.

"The Federal Coalition understands the changing nature of seasonal patterns in rural Australia and is prepared to look at Income Equalisatioh Deposits to ensure that they are more relevant to such situations as periods of low or negative income or when natural disasters occur.

Mr Fischer said his visit next week will involve travelling from Griffith to Ivanhoe, then to Wilcannia and Broken Hill, visiting a number of properties along the way, surveying economic and seasonal conditions.

"My visit to Broken Hill will involve media contacts, briefings related to my Energy and Resources Shadow Ministry and support for the endorsed candidate for the newly redistributed seat of Parkes, Michael Cobb," Mr Fischer added.

ENDS 24 June 1992

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