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Graziers fight drought in South Australia's far north

Nikolai Beilharz, Thursday November 21, 2013 - 14:52 EDT
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Drought is affecting parts of South Australia's far north. - ABC

It may have been a good year for rain in the state's south, but that's definitely not the case in the north.

At Allandale station near Oodnadatta, they haven't seen good rain since March last year, and this year they've only had around 40 millimetres of rain for the whole year.

Andrew Clarke, from Allandale station, says of his 80 watering holes and points, only two dams still have water.

He says it's been a very challenging year and he's frustrated that South Australia hasn't signed up for drought assistance like other states.

"I don't want to waste all my time yelling and screaming, I've got a job to get on with, and that's just to survive this and get through it.

"Not looking for the government to come through and save my business, just looking for some sort of equity between states and from what I gather there is an olive branch there of federal money. Why isn't this state getting on top of it and just getting organised and doing it. Is it only because there's a handful of us and our votes don't count perhaps? I don't know."

State Agriculture Minister Gail Gago says she has tried to get South Australia signed up to the Farm Finance Package, but says the Federal Government won't listen.

"I've written letters, I've spoken to the minister, I'm at a loss. And he (Barnaby Joyce) has simply rejected us. He has wiped us off and said no."

Federal Agriculture minister Barnaby Joyce says that he has signed off on the application, and is now waiting for finance minister Mathias Cormann to approve the plan. Mr. Joyce says he will be making sure the plan is signed off on as soon as possible, but also says that state agriculture minister Gail Gago had ample opportunity to get the deal signed before his government came to power.


© ABC 2013

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