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Drought assistance tops list

Saturday, 11th May, 2019

The Darling River Group at the CWA State Conference. From left: Kathleen Gilby (Tibooburra), Therese Davies (Tibooburra), Amanda Vagg (Ivanhoe), Annette Turner (White Cliffs), Yvette Smith (Broken Hill), Marie Kelly (Ivanhoe), Lucy Phillips (Broken Hill), Ellen Pippin (Ivanhoe), Marie Scott (Ivanhoe) and Judith Selby (Menindee). PICTURE: CWA Broken Hill Branch The Darling River Group at the CWA State Conference. From left: Kathleen Gilby (Tibooburra), Therese Davies (Tibooburra), Amanda Vagg (Ivanhoe), Annette Turner (White Cliffs), Yvette Smith (Broken Hill), Marie Kelly (Ivanhoe), Lucy Phillips (Broken Hill), Ellen Pippin (Ivanhoe), Marie Scott (Ivanhoe) and Judith Selby (Menindee). PICTURE: CWA Broken Hill Branch

By Emily Ferguson

Outgoing Country Women’s Association NSW State President, Annette Turner, has spoken about their concerns with drought assistance. 

The Country Women’s Association is seeking urgent assurances from both sides of politics amid worries that the upcoming Federal Election had thrown a shadow of uncertainty over aid schemes. 

Annette Turner lives at Polpah Station, 16 kilometres from White Cliffs, so she knows all about what the drought is doing. 

“We haven’t had rain for two years and like everyone else in the district, it’s been very difficult,” she said. “However, we don’t have as many problems as others as we made the decision to destock in March 2017.”

The CWA of NSW had its State Conference in Albury on Tuesday, prior to a visit from Prime Minister Scott Morrison, and expressed concerns that now the Government was in ‘caretaker mode’ there was no further information available about new drought support. 

“As it stands the Opposition has even expressed some hesitation at the issuing of concessional loans, which means if we have a change of government, we may not see the program get off the ground at all,” said Mrs Turner.

“We are calling for all major political parties to state their support for this scheme. Major issues, such as drought, should be treated with a bipartisan approach and all major parties should have a firm position for action on drought so money and support gets to where it’s needed without delay.  

“It’s too important to play politics with and must be treated with the urgency it deserves. The fact the government is in ‘caretaker mode’ should make no difference. In drought-stricken areas, every single day bites. Unlike politicians, we can’t ask our farmers to wait a few weeks, while there is a potential changing of the guard.”

The CWA said all major parties should have clear and firm policy around drought so that when conditions worsen, action can be taken swiftly rather than decisions and policy being made on the run. 

The motion of urgency, which was unanimously carried, included a call for consideration of grants for farmers, as well as loans.

Several other urgency motions around water security for towns were also be discussed by delegates today, including one relating to the inadequate quality of town water and the need for greater transparency on decision-making under the Murray Darling Basin Plan.

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