June 21, 2024 3:47 AM

Drought Action Needed Now


Councillor James Burns

Upper Hunter Shire Council has made a unanimous and urgent stand against the devastating drought conditions in an extraordinary meeting last week.

A Notice of Motion brought forward by Councillor James Burns, addressed the pressing drought conditions in the Upper Hunter Shire. The motion, which was adopted by Council, consisted of the following key actions:

  1. Recognition of Drought: Council has formally recognised the dire state of drought affecting the Upper Hunter Shire, acknowledging its impact on the local community and economy.
  2. Water Conservation Call: Residents of the Upper Hunter Shire are urged to remember waterwise rules and minimise water use during this challenging period. Conservation efforts are vital to sustain water supplies.
  3. Government Action Request: A call has been made to the NSW Government to revise the drought indicator, incorporating farmer input and on-the-ground knowledge that reflects the true nature of the situation in the regions.
  4. Visits from State Leaders: Council is formally inviting the Premier of NSW, the NSW Agriculture Minister, the Minister for Regional NSW, the Opposition Leader, and the Deputy Leader of the Opposition to tour the drought-stricken farms across the Shire. This effort will provide firsthand insight into the devastation that is beginning to take hold.

Former chair of NSW Farmers – Merriwa Branch criticised the Combined Drought indicator at the meeting saying less than two per cent of the state is identified as a drought status of any type, this particular area is not even included in an approaching drought situation.

Cr Burns said recently announced research funding for resilience isn’t going to help the situation now.

“The drought is here, the research is not going to help, it will help in the future, yes, but we need the Minister for Agriculture Tara Moriarty here now, and we need something to be done about this.” 

 “If that means that you have to come out here and declare us in a drought yourself, Minister, then I invite you.”