There was a lot of talk on Monday. A lot of talk.
Even Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull identified that.
“We’ve talked about how to make it easier for people to freight fodder in from interstate, we talked about the type of assistance that can be given in terms of freight, we’ve talked about the support that can be given to enable farmers to be more resilient, to make it easier for them to access the many types of support that are provided, but you often face pretty daunting piles of paperwork to fill in.”
That’s great - talk is a starting point but it doesn’t put food on the table, fodder in the paddocks and water in the dams.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and his posse of cabinet ministers were in Trangie on Monday to talk to farmers and listen to the problems they face as drought tightens its grip on our region.
We recognise that governments can’t make it rain but we expect more from them than just talk.
The pollies said they were there to listen and learn, and that’s admirable, but we need action and we need it now.
It’s all very well to promise a "calm and decisive" approach to dealing with drought that takes in local considerations but we are running out of time.
Mr Turnbull has already acknowledged the toll natural disasters take on farmers’ mental health and has talked up the record funding for counselling services but we need more.
Farmers are a proud lot – they don’t want a handout, they want a hand-up.
They want to see their industry become sustainable, through good times and bad.
As a region, we need that too. If our farmers are suffering, so are the towns and local businesses that rely on their custom.
Drought gets its teeth into us all.
Mr Turnbull’s three day visit to the region will also take in Dubbo, Narromine, Blackall, Charleville and Boulia – some of the areas hardest hit by a once-in-20-year drought.
It’s sure to be an eye-opener for the PM and his posse.
We thank him for his time and attention – it’s good to see our pollies get out of the city and see for themselves what’s happening in the bush – but we need more, much more.
So far the visit has been long on talk and short on action.
Let’s hope we hear some concrete strategies and solutions before the PM packs his bag, heads back to the nation’s capital and on to the next hot button issue.