A central west farmer would like the government to stand up for the future and show leadership on climate change.
Robert Lee, of Larras Lee near Molong, together with other farmers and businesses in the region recently wrote an open letter to Calare MP Andrew Gee asking him to take action on climate change.
In the letter they wrote that the government have "sat idle" on climate policy.
Some of the things that the farmers and businesses called for from the government included:
- Demanding and delivering the integration of climate science into core policies: drought, energy and water.
- Encouraging research and development into innovative renewable energy and greenhouse gas sequestration projects.
- Developing a national strategy on climate change and agriculture.
After engaging with the climate change topic many years ago Mr Lee said he realised it was a massive global, problem, but that if Australia became a leader on climate change the country could set itself up for the new economy.
"We've got massive capacity to have huge renewable resources... change is a difficult thing to implement but it needs a bit of leadership," he said.
"The Conservative side of politics and the National party in particular I think have been lacking imagination and lacking leadership by clinging to the old way of doing things."
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Because climate change is significant and a difficult problem, Mr Lee said the country needs politicians from all sides to recognise and articulate to people the reasons why we need to change.
"We need to be bipartisan. I don't want to blame Andrew Gee or tell people you can't vote for them (certain politicians).. I want to bring Andrew Gee and the Nationals to the realisation that this is an important topic and they have to embrace it," he said.
"I'm not going to rant and rave and say vote Green, I want to rant and rave and say Andrew Gee get in the 21st Century."
Mr Lee urged politicians to engage with the rest of Parliament and to be supportive of those in government who are trying to make these changes happen.
"Leadership is really, critically important. Particularly in conservative, rural Australia," he said.
"If the National party can start to recognise reality and embrace change then they can lead the conservative people that rely on them to provide opinions. I reckon they've got a real role to play.
"Australia has a real role to play. Because if we embrace the future we'll be able to say 'this is how you can do it' to other countries..."
It was the 2002 drought that first made the farmer stop and think about the state of the climate.
Mr Lee, who has a degree in Agricultural Science, then started reading more about climate change and greenhouse gas emissions.
"I realised that the science (on climate change) was genuine and it was properly done," he said.
"I then started to take more notice of it and the more I read, the more I learnt, the more frightened I became about the future of agriculture in south-east Australia..."
The member for the Farmers for Climate Action group said locally he has seen varying climatic events.
"We had over a metre of rain here in 2016, we had 208 millimetres in March of 2017.. and then from April 2017 through to April 2018 is the driest 12 month period on my records and those records go back to the 1880s," he said.
Mr Lee said because he's recognising that the climate is changing it is giving him more confidence to invest in things such as water reticulation systems.
"And we're also subdividing our paddocks and changing our grazing management..."