Geurie’s Pip Job has been thanked for her time as NSW’s Drought Coordinator during one of the region’s driest periods in living memory.
It was back in May that Ms Job was unveiled in the role, at a property south of Dubbo that had faced below average rainfall since March 2017.
The drought has since re-intensified according to the Department of Primary Industries’ November seasonal update, with stock water levels set to remain critically low in the Western, North West and Central West regions.
Following Ms Job’s consultation with producers across NSW, the government has introduced a range of measures in the last six months.
Also making news: Indoor pool to be considered at Dubbo Regional Aquatic Centre
These included $20,000 transport subsidies, $4 million in mental health support for drought-stricken communities, and changes to allow producers to use Farm Innovation Fund loans to ‘bio-bank’ the genetics of their herd.
In addition, the government also waived about $100 million worth farming fees and charges, including Local Land Services rates, fixed water charges in rural and regional areas, and class one agricultural vehicle registration costs.
Ms Job will now step aside, with the government announcing this week that NSW Land and Water Commissioner Jock Laurie would take over as the state’s drought coordinator.
“Pip has been the NSW government’s ‘eyes and ears’ on the ground, making sure every region had a voice, and was critical to the design of the Emergency Drought Package,” Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair said.
“She has travelled from Tamworth to Temora, Broken Hill to Bathurst and everywhere in between to ensure the government, struggling farmers and rural communities are working together as best as we can while we get through this difficult period.
“I would like to thank Pip for leading the first phase of our emergency drought response. Her dedication and commitment has ensured our farmers know we are standing side by side with them.”
He said Mr Laurie’s understanding of the need to protect soil and water, and strong relationships with all levels of government, would stand him in good stead for his new role.
“He will oversee the implementation of the Government’s drought relief measures to make sure the right assistance is reaching those most in need,” Mr Blair said.
“As the drought increases its impact in the area of water access and management, Mr Laurie’s experience as the land and water commissioner will play an important role in assessing at-risk areas and ensuring contingencies are put in place.”
Visit www.droughthub.nsw.gov.au for more information about the assistance available.