More than emergency drought help needed

No one can deny the good feeling that comes after helping out someone in dire need. We saw that with the delivery of feed gathered through the Nowra to Dubbo Drought Relief Drive. Thanks to the efforts of Leeanne Oldfield, and the generosity of the Shoalhaven community, five heavily laden trucks delivered hay, feed and groceries to where it was desperately needed in the Central West.

That $100,000 was raised for the drive in such a short time demonstrates how seriously we take the drought. And so we should. 

With our own water storage falling at an alarming rate, we are on the eve of level 1 water restrictions being imposed on the region. 

One doesn’t have to go far to see the effects of the lack of rain. As someone commented the other day, where there were once green lawns and pastures, it is now almost uniformly brown. In some places it looks as if Round-up has been sprayed, so burnt and dead is the grass.

Peak farming bodies such as the National Farmers Federation are pulling no punches in recognising the severity of the drought and pointing to climate change as a major factor. The federation recognises that while farmers need immediate relief to ride out the big dry, more long-term action to future-proof agriculture from the effects of climate change.

Yet still there are those in government who play down or deny the effects of global warming. It was not that long ago when our new prime minister waved around a lump of coal in the House of Representatives in an ill-considered theatrical act to denigrate those calling for its phase-out in energy production. 

The inability of the government to agree on its energy and climate policy saw it tear itself apart last, risking possible extinction at the next federal election. For many of us watching the ugly proceedings, it appeared the climate dinosaurs were determined to ensure their own demise. The danger is through their inaction they’ll hasten our downfall as well.

Climate change is no longer a fringe concern – indeed, it hasn’t been for decades. Those in power who would characterise it as such should not have their hands on the machinery of government.

We are happy to help our farmers and not just because we are kind-hearted. They provide the sustenance upon which we all rely. We are all this climate emergency together.