Shooters Fishers and Farmers' Roy Butler and Phil Donato visit Barwon electorate

OUT AND ABOUT: Barwon MP Roy Butler with Bogan Shire mayor Ray Donald and Shooters Fishers and Farmers Member for Orange Phil Donato. Photo: CONTRIBUTED
OUT AND ABOUT: Barwon MP Roy Butler with Bogan Shire mayor Ray Donald and Shooters Fishers and Farmers Member for Orange Phil Donato. Photo: CONTRIBUTED

While aid assistance is flowing for those affected by the bushfires, Barwon MP Roy Butler believes the nation has turned its attention away from the drought.

"I guess the way I see it is drought is like the slowest burning bushfire. It still destroys properties, it destroys livelihoods and it takes people's lives," the Shooters Fishers and Farmers MP Mr Butler said.

Mr Butler has been touring Barwon, along with Shooters Fishers and Farmers Member for Orange Phillip Donato to see and hear firsthand how the drought has affected communities in the electorate.

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Their primary priority is to bring parliament's focus back on the drought, and the urgent assistance needed out west.

"Even though [Phil's] got experience out west, I wanted him to come and see with his own eyes and hear with his own ears what's going on, so that when he's prosecuting this case for greater assistance in parliament, he can talk about his own experience," Mr Butler said.

"Because when we get back to parliament I really want to refocus government on drought, because bushfire has really dominated the news cycle that dominated people's thoughts."

Mr Butler said while health services were another major concern in the bush, he said drought was still the primary focus for all communities in the electorate.

Member for Orange Phil Donato, Bogan Shire mayor Ray Donald and Barwon MP Roy Butler pose for a photo with the Big Bogan in Nyngan. Photo: CONTRIBUTED

Member for Orange Phil Donato, Bogan Shire mayor Ray Donald and Barwon MP Roy Butler pose for a photo with the Big Bogan in Nyngan. Photo: CONTRIBUTED

As a result of the drought conditions, Mr Butler said communities who are agriculturally driven are suffering with less new money flowing into their economies.

"The primary thing for all of our communities, Nyngan, Cobar, Narrabri, Broken Hill, communities like that have diversified economies where they still have some income from mining, so there's still some new money circulating the community,"

"But communities like Bourke where you've got an overly agricultural dependent economy, they're really suffering.

"So we're trying to get government to realise they've really got to be doing a lot more, and if their answer is going to be more loans, or long term planning infrastructure-type work then that's not the answer and it's going to miss the mark."

Mr Butler said the tour of the electorate aimed to help educate members of the Shooters Fishers and Farmers party better understand the policy initiatives he continues to drive, such as rate relief, reselling or restocking grants or grants to assist people to fix up debts with rural suppliers, and how they would help bring immediate assistance for these communities.

"We had the cabinet out in Bourke in December, no one can deny, the whole NSW cabinet have heard for themselves and seen for themselves what's going on," Mr Butler said.

"No one can deny that what's going on is essentially a natural disaster and it needs that level of response from state and federal governments and what we've seen from the bushfires."

This story Australia's 'slow burning bushfire': Barwon MP says don't forget the drought first appeared on Nyngan Observer.