House debates

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Statements by Members

Murray Electorate: Drought

1:56 pm

Photo of Sharman StoneSharman Stone (Murray, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I want to put on the national record and pay tribute to the enormous efforts being made by farm families in the west of the Murray electorate. They are struggling with what is probably the worst drought on record. These livestock and cropping enterprises have no stock and domestic water left. Their dams are empty and they have been for several years now. They are having to cart water from Loddon Shire standpipes at exorbitant prices in an effort to try to keep their livestock alive.

We are hopeful that the Victorian government will deliver a long-promised stock and domestic pipeline as an extension of the Wimmera-Mallee system or another pipe as an extension of the Goulburn-Murray system. This would solve the heartbreak of seeing generations of work destroyed when it does not rain. I urge the Victorian government to pass on their per farm cost estimates as soon as possible for these farmers' consideration.

Again, I salute the courage and acknowledge the sheer hard work and determination of these farmers who are having to struggle so hard to survive, and I commend the Wedderburn VFF. I had the pleasure of going to the annual general meeting of that branch just last week. It was inspiring to see the effort that they are maintaining to keep their intergenerational farms intact so that they can have a farm future for their area. I commend all of them. They work so hard.

I also acknowledge that there are some 70 food parcels being distributed weekly to provide local families with food for their tables. It is extraordinary that in a country like Australia our farm families have to survive on food parcels.