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Monday, 3 March 2014
Page: 1311

Ms LANDRY (Capricornia) (13:50): We have heard a lot about the drought in the past week and the government's $320 million relief package. This drought is a shocking natural weather disaster that has hit 70 per cent of Queensland. I want to pay tribute to a dedicated and down-to-earth group of people who have made an extraordinary effort to reach out to those affected. The Country Women's Association have proven to be the guardian angels of the bush during this drought across the country. In Queensland, the QCWA, under the direction of State President Robyn McFarlane, from my electorate of Capricornia, have been operating the CWA Public Rural Crisis Fund. They have been providing money for vouchers for food and other necessities to those in rural communities who desperately need a hand. The vouchers are spent at stores in local rural towns in drought areas, to not only support farmers and rural workers but also support small business, who are also struggling as a result of the dry. The QCWA gets many phone calls to the state office. One example was a woman who could not afford to pay the registration of the farm ute that was needed to bring in feed for starving stock. Her family was in despair. Other families cannot afford to pay their phone bills, which is a necessity in such isolated areas. Australia should be proud that we have the CWA, and today, in Australia's parliament, I salute and honour these women and all of our country women who are lending a hand in the drought.