Peter Khalil: I recently met with a constituent of mine in the electorate of Wills. Dorina, even though she lives in Coburg in the inner-city part of northern Melbourne, like many other Australians—hundreds of thousands of Australians, millions of Australians—is concerned by the drought that’s happening in regional New South Wales. She has a friend who is a farmer in Deniliquin, and she wanted to do what she could to help. She gathered 240 signatures from people in our electorate and presented me with a petition on support and assistance for farmers. I’ve submitted this petition to the Standing Committee on Petitions here in this place.
Australian farming communities are being affected by a shocking and protracted drought, and we know that governments have a role to play to assist drought – affected farming families. We are always ready to support meaningful drought assistance put forward by the government. I also spoke to the member for Farrer, Sussan Ley, about the petition, because Deniliquin is in her electorate, and she is also the Assistant Minister for Regional Development and Territories. We talked about the work being done to bring relief to farmers in the area affected by drought.
I understand—I think everyone here understands—that there are no quick-fix solutions. We also recognise that climate change plays a role here, working against the farm sector. And we must develop longer term responses: mitigation, adaptation, the building of resilience and ensuring that the best land management practices and sustainable farming methods are put forward. It’s great to see people who aren’t directly affected by the drought putting in and doing something to help those who are suffering, even though they’re hundreds of kilometres away.