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Thursday, 25 July 2019
Page: 1072


Mr FITZGIBBON (Hunter) (16:09): I'm very happy to make a contribution to this matter of public importance. What an outstanding speech we heard from the Deputy Leader of the Opposition and what fantastic speeches we heard from those who followed! I need to pick up on a couple of points made by the member for Calare in his contribution. It was one full of inaccuracies. Let's reflect on what has happened in the drought space over the last six years. For six years they have had an opportunity to do something for our drought-affected farmers, and what have they done? It is pretty much zip. We've had a drought envoy, a drought coordinator, a drought summit and a drought task force. We had the Select Committee on Regional Development and Decentralisation. It took a year to report, and its recommendations were, of course, ignored. And now we've got the Select Committee on Regional Australia. All they have done is change the title of the committee. And when is it going to report? July 2020. They're going to take another year now, after six years, to work out what we should be doing about the worst drought in our history. And what is familiar about that date? I know! That's when the Future Drought Fund starts to come into operation.

Our farmers have been in drought for seven years—seven years—and there is no sign of that drought abating. Our farmers need help today, not in 12 months time.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The time for the discussion has concluded.