The new Catholic Bishop of Rockhampton says a visit to western Queensland has highlighted the impacts of the drought and the stresses on rural families.
Bishop Michael McCarthy has visited Longreach, Barcaldine, Blackall and Aramac in recent days, less than a fortnight after his ordination.
He says he has seen barren grazing land and met landholders to offer hope and support.
"First and foremost, it has been the drought [which] has been very much on my mind, just the stresses of the country people," he said.
"I really feel for the people of the west.
"Personally I think they are doing very, very well in themselves, considering what is going on but my commitment is to be out here a few times a year and just to be part of the community.
"I've seen the land that is barren, I have seen the cattle that are poor and the sheep.
"It is just so disheartening and you can see it on their faces, how hard it is.
"It is just good to be here and to stand in solidarity with you.
"Hopefully God will bless the earth again with rain, and until that time, I am hopeful that they will keep hope."
© ABC 2014
03:23 EDT A two-year-old boy has died and a girl suffered serious injuries after a tree fell on their house at The Patch in the Dandenong Ranges, east of Melbourne, as severe thunderstorms swept through Victoria on Saturday evening.