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RURAL SECTOR--DROUGHT

Senator Tierney, pursuant to notice, moved--That the Senate--

(a) condemns the Minister for Primary Industries and Energy (Senator

Bob Collins) for his "boneheaded' decision to accept the

recommendations of the Rural Adjustment Scheme Advisory

Committee, which has continued to exclude partial areas of the

Upper Hunter region from the exceptional circumstances drought

aid package;

(b) expresses shock and dismay that the western area of Merriwa and

the eastern portion of Singleton continue to be excluded despite

four applications for justice from this Australian Labor Party

Federal Government;

(c) highlights the anger of the entire Upper Hunter region at this

arbitrary decision which has produced two classes of

drought-ravaged farm families with the anomaly that the excluded

areas are as badly drought-affected as the areas included on the

list;

(d) condemns this decision to create a "have not' class of

drought-affected farmers in the Upper Hunter region whereby

farmers in the excluded portions find themselves surrounded by

properties considered to be in extreme drought; and

(e) demands that the Minister explain forthwith to the Senate why

this unbelievable bureaucratic anomaly has occurred, placing

incredible stresses and anxiety on farmers whose last hopes

rested with inclusion in the exceptional circumstances list.

Debate ensued.

Debate was interrupted while Senator Sandy Macdonald was speaking.

General Business concluded.