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Cobb delighted for farmers that drought declared over



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John Cobb, MP 

Shadow Minister for Agriculture and Food Security  Member for Calare 

 

Cobb delighted for farmers that drought declared over

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Shadow Minister for Agriculture and Food Security, John Cobb said whilst he welcomed the announcement that NSW is officially out of drought he warned that it would still be a long road to recovery for those farmers and agriculture businesses that have endured nine long years of hardship.

Mr Cobb said he was concerned that many farmers, particularly grain growers have been increasing debt by hundreds of thousands a year due to crop failures and the like. We need to continue to provide support for these farmers who will need more than one good season to recovery both financially and mentally.

We need a series of good harvests, good shearings and good stock sales over several years for these businesses to clear debt and provide for their families future. Of course the price of commodities such as grain, wool and meat would also have to hold up for several seasons to allow for their recovery.

“Even more importantly this drought has had a huge impact on the mental health of farming families as they have coped with the immense stresses of drought and an uncertain future. These wounds will take time to heal and we must continue to provide support to these families during the healing process”

“It is, however, fantastic to see, as I travel around the countryside, first class canola and wheat crops, and sheep and cattle at last carrying good condition. I am really happy to see farmers and local communities buoyant again and positive about their future.”

Mr Cobb said it is also great to see Irrigators too receiving substantial water allocations after years of record low allocations and cotton and rice being planted in large areas. At last permanent plantings are being watered for production instead of just survival.

“Unfortunately Irrigators face continued uncertainty from the Government’s current Basin Plans which will see many irrigation communities decimated by reductions of 40% to their allocations. Businesses have increased debt to survive the drought now face the prospect of never recovering as the Gillard made drought replaces the climatic drought”

Mr Cobb said he was really concerned that these communities will lose farming families, agriculture based businesses and then vital services such as school and hospitals as Labor’s Basin Plan puts the environment ahead of the communities in the basin.

Mr Cobb said he was pleased that we had good rains and hoped that this was the start of a run of good seasons. Our rural communities are a vital cog in the working of our nation. The rural and regional communities are not just critical to National Food Security, sustainable land management and economic growth but also lead the nation in their work ethic and values based lifestyle.

Contact: Richard Hyett - 0487 250 005