Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says a recent tour of the Dubbo region and western Queensland has shown him “the consequences of this very, very long drought”.
Mr Turnbull and senior members of his Cabinet visited Dubbo, Narromine and Trangie last week as part of a tour of drought-affected areas, with 61 per cent of NSW on drought watch.
Speaking in a video wrapping up his trip, Mr Turnbull told Agriculture Minister David Littleproud he was “honoured” to have met so many “great Australians” on his trip, which included a visit to the Miles’ family’s Strathmore property last Monday.
“We started off feeding cotton seed to some of our own hungry cows in the Hunter, and we’ve been to Dubbo, Narromine and Trangie … and we’re seeing the consequences of this very, very long drought,” Mr Turnbull said.
“This is the heart and soul of Australia.
“The Mayor of Boola Shire Council, John ‘Tractor’ Ferguson said it is so dry that he’s hand-feeding his bees.”
Mr Littleproud said the drought was not only affecting farmers.
“Small business people, we’ve been able to catch up with them and sit around the table and hear about their concerns because they’re impacted in all this as well,” he said.
“They don’t get away from the drought, because if the cockies don’t have dollars in their pockets there's noone else much spending money in the town.
“We have done a lot as a government but can we do better than what we’ve done? I think we’ve got to go back and have a yarn now and bring the states on the journey.”