NSW Drought fact finding trip next weekThursday January 9, 2014 - 14:40 EDT
There seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel for farmers in the Pilliga in north-west NSW.
¬†After months of lobbying to be included in areas eligible for drought assistance, Pilliga will be visited by members of the Regional Assistance Advisory Committee (RAAC) on January 20 to discuss the worsening seasonal conditions in the area.
After similar tours to Brewarrina, Walgett, Lightning Ridge and parts of far Western NSW late last year, the Committee will meet with farmers and community groups in the Coonamble, Moree, Cobar, and Pilliga regions.
Pilliga farmer Graeme McNair welcomes the visit.
"It's terrific stuff and we appreciate that but time is the factor.
"I've got 23 dams on my place and there's only one with water in it," said Mr McNair.
"If we don't get a subsidy to cart water to our stock, all those stock are at threat."
But the tour will miss other parts of the state, including Coonabarabran which was hit by devastating fires a year ago and has had little rain since.
Peter Shinton, Mayor of Warrumbungle Shire, thinks that's insulting.
"Those people west of the Warrumbungles have not had much rain at all and neither have the people around the northern and eastern flanks of the Warrumbungles," he said.
"I think it's rather rude that they don't come and expect just how hard it is, especially for those people who were affected by fires last January."
But the Minister for Western New South Wales, Kevin Humphries rejects this analysis and says the trip has been designed by the RAA committee to look at the areas in the most need.
He says anyone that wants to make a submission can come to the meetings when they are held in nearby communities and put their case for drought assistance.
He says the government is also listening to the concerns that landholders have raised and will be "looking at" the issue raised by Pilliga farmers wanting suppression of the ‚??Failure to feed' prosecutions.
He says the government is sensitive to the different pressures on different regions and livestock production.
© ABC 2014
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After a brief monsoonal burst of rain at the beginning of January for central parts of the Northern Territory, the Top End continues to miss out on the heavy falls.