GRANT funding and water infrastructure were key topics discussed by Parkes MP Mark Coulton during the federal government’s drought summit on Friday.
Representatives from all levels of government, peak farming bodies and rural charities gathered in Canberra to discuss the ongoing drought conditions.
Mr Coulton said the summit had been “very worthwhile...a very compact event with all the right people in attendance”.
“In terms of the Gunnedah region, the most important discussions were about more grant funding to help install better water infrastructure for this and future droughts.
“We have seen many dams run dry and while fodder has been a big reason many farmers have sold their stock, a lack of water resources is arguably just as big of a cause.
“It is an important issue to address and grants that can assist with more dams and greater water security, is something that the government will look at closely going forward.”
Mr Coulton said the “legitimising” multi-peril crop insurance was also discussed during the summit.
“Insurance expenses can be quite significant for farmers at the best of times,” he said.
“However, I think there is a great deal of benefit to multi-peril crop insurance.
“It allows farmers to ensure their planting expenses, so if the crop doesn’t pan out they have some protection.
“I think it will be the government’s role to ensure farmers have access to these kinds of multi-peril crop insurance polices and that they are coming from reliable legitimate sources.”
The Parkes MP said the government would now look to act upon decisions made during the summit.
“There was also a great deal of discussion regarding the government’s newly announced $5 billion of drought support,” he said.
“Some of that has already been assigned to various parts and other parts are up for discussion.
“I think the most important thing for farmers to remember about the summit is that the drought is clearly a top priority for all levels of government.
“The commitment of funding is there and the need to be prepared for future droughts was also discussed in detail.
“This drought is a top priority and we will all continue to work hard to ensure we are doing everything we can to help.”
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