The Minister for Agriculture and Western NSW Adam Marshall listens to Nyngan

Bogan Shire mayor Ray Donald, the Minister for Agriculture and Western NSW Adam Marshall and Bogan Shire general manager Derek Francis. Photo: Zaarkacha Marlan
Bogan Shire mayor Ray Donald, the Minister for Agriculture and Western NSW Adam Marshall and Bogan Shire general manager Derek Francis. Photo: Zaarkacha Marlan

Finding out what drought support was working and what needed to be changed was the reason for Agricultural Minister Adam Marshall's visit to Nyngan this week.

A new drought support package will be announced in a matter of weeks after the minister finishes his tour across western NSW to gain a sense of how people are coping and hear what is needed most.

"As the new agriculture minister I'm keen to get out as much across country NSW to talk to farmers and councils about the assistance package the state government has been rolling out over the last 12 months," Mr Marshall said.

"About what's worked well, what hasn't worked well, what do we need to do more of, given the drought is obviously lasting a lot longer than any of us had hoped, and also the impact it's having on towns and businesses not just people, not just farmers directly."

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Mr Marshall said so far the primary concerns are issues of drought and water, but the nature of these impacts are varied in different regions.

"No matter where I go, whether it's in my patch around Inverell and Moree or it's out here, its just dry, it's desolate everywhere," he said.

"But the impact that is has for people on-farm is very different in different parts of the state, just in terms of what they're running on their place, and what their conditions were leading into the drought.

"So it's not pretty I have to say anywhere, but the purpose of me being here is I want to visit a number of farmers in different parts of the state, to get a sense of how they're coping, what else can we do so that we make sure that the new package that we're working on now tries to provide the most appropriate assistance to farmers for whatever they're doing on their farms and wherever they're located."

The week-long drought listening tour kicked off in Dubbo on Tuesday, stopping in Nyngan on Wednesday before heading to Cobar and Bourke.

The agriculture minister said so far he's been "heartened" to learn how some farmers have benefited from the NSW governments $1.5 billion drought assistance package, which included the Farm Innovation Fund.

"Obviously I'm not the water minister, we have a dedicated water minister, Melinda Pavey, but I'm certainly collecting a lot of that feedback," Mr Marshall said.

"In terms of the drought assistance [currently provided], people have really appreciated transport subsidies, that have allowed people to move stock or buy feed interstate and truck it in.

"Obviously the subsidy reduces the cost of that for farmers, but also the funding that's been provided for on-farm improvements, some people have bought feeders, silos, others have undertaken water infrastructure measures so they've built damns, de-silted dams, put bores down you name it.

"Certainly I've got some other feedback about what other things we might like to consider."

It is expected the government will make an announcement on the new drought support package before the end of the financial year.