How Scott Morrison's Bush Summit speech went down in Dubbo

Bush Summit 2019: What the locals thought of Scott Morrison's drought talk in Dubbo


Politics
OUTLINING WORK: Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks at the Bush Summit in Dubbo. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

OUTLINING WORK: Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks at the Bush Summit in Dubbo. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

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Binnaway farmer Kym Monkton said while he appreciated all "the little bits and pieces" of support governments offered farmers doing it tough, he wanted to see a more "permanent fix".

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Drought-stricken farmers and their neighbours in country communities might not have heard exactly what they wanted to from Prime Minister Scott Morrison in Dubbo, NSW, but many have praised him for listening to their concerns and explaining how he's helping them.

"He spoke very well," said 70-year-old Binnaway farmer Kym Monkton, who was one of about 200 people from across Western NSW who gathered in the city to see Mr Morrison speak at the Bush Summit today (Thursday).

"The key thing he said was that Aussie farmers are one of the best in the world and there's a reason for that - we're unsubsidised unlike the European Union, UK and USA," Mr Monkton said.

"We cost the government very little and as a result we are very efficient because we stand on our own."

Mr Monkton said while he appreciated all "the little bits and pieces" of support governments offered farmers doing it tough, he wanted to see a more "permanent fix".

"I'd like to see the introduction of a national water and fodder scheme," he said.

"I'd also like to see the Bradfield Scheme embraced, that's about diverting coastal waters inland."

PROVIDING FEEDBACK: Kym Monkton at the Bush Summit. Photo: RYAN YOUNG

PROVIDING FEEDBACK: Kym Monkton at the Bush Summit. Photo: RYAN YOUNG

Massive pipelines should be constructed to transfer water from places like the Ord River in Western Australia to drier communities susceptible to drought, Mr Monkton believes.

"Irrigation is the key to agriculture and agriculture is key to the economy," he said.

"We are the driest continent in the world and we're getting drier. Most of our average annual rainfalls have decreased since 2000."

During his 30-minute speech, Mr Morrison spoke about the billions of dollars his government had already spent helping farmers and country communities.

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More support through the farm household allowance, funding to manage pests and weeds, extra mental health assistance and money for charities supporting vulnerable communities were among the measures already being delivered, Mr Morrison said.

Country councils have also been provided with up to $1 million in funding.

"The Dubbo Regional Council used its funding to invest in the Stuart Town water supply, the installation of shades for the Dubbo Livestock Markets and an ambulatory toilet facility here in the CBD," Mr Morrison told the audience.

He said the establishment of a future drought fund and passage of anti-trespass laws to prevent farms from being invaded by "utterly disgraceful cowardly keyboard warriors" would also help support people on the land.

"We know our climate is changing and we know the drought has always been apart of the Australian landscape, we know this drought won't be the last and that's why we're establishing a future drought fund," Mr Morrison said.

FEEDING THE MOB: Rotary Club of Dubbo West members tempted taste buds with the sausage sizzle they put on. Photo: RYAN YOUNG

FEEDING THE MOB: Rotary Club of Dubbo West members tempted taste buds with the sausage sizzle they put on. Photo: RYAN YOUNG

A permanent soil advocate will also be introduced to help farmers improve profitability and boost water storage by addressing climate challenges and poor management practices that impact on soil quality.

"The stuff on soil was good, that's such a critical aspect," Dubbo resident Sally Larkings said after she watched the speech.

Mr Morrison's message that the future of Australia depended on the success of country communities was also spot on, she said.

ANSWERING QUESTIONS: Prime Minister Scott Morrison answers questions from the audience in a Bush Summit session moderated by Ben English. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

ANSWERING QUESTIONS: Prime Minister Scott Morrison answers questions from the audience in a Bush Summit session moderated by Ben English. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

After the speech Mr Morrison took a range of questions from the floor about extra roads funding, the Murray Darling Basin Plan, subsidies and population growth.

In response Mr Morrison said if more subsidies for things like fodder were introduced that would push up the price and the Murray Darling Basin Plan could not be changed unless the states agreed.

QUESTIONING THE PM: "How we do we persuade more people in the city that there is something beyond the Blue Mountains," Angus Edwards from the Bathurst Business Chamber asked the Prime Minister. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

QUESTIONING THE PM: "How we do we persuade more people in the city that there is something beyond the Blue Mountains," Angus Edwards from the Bathurst Business Chamber asked the Prime Minister. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

Attracting more migrants to country areas and diversifying the economy would help with population growth, he said.

A large amount of money is also being invested in roads and the "the bush is not broken, the bush is surviving and the bush will thrive", Mr Morrison said.

Five panel discussions featuring a range of prominent community, business, political and industry leaders are now taking place at the day-long summit.

Topics such as regional jobs, tourism, transport, water and land management will be discussed.

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The story How Scott Morrison's Bush Summit speech went down in Dubbo first appeared on Farm Online.

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