Climate change protesters gather outside lunch with PM | Photos

Steve Peterson met the PM
Steve Peterson met the PM

PRIME Minister Scott Morrison's visit to Orange on Tuesday was both welcomed and ridiculed, depending on whether or not one was invited.

An invitation-only community lunch was hosted inside Orange Civic Theatre's foyer, attended by local government representatives, orchardists, farmers, school teachers and doctors.

Mr Morrison voiced his support to the drought affected.

"I want to assure all Australians who have been devastated by the drought for years that you have not left our thoughts and our plans and our responses for a second," he said.

"You will continue to get the support that you need to get to the other side."

Orange Anglican Grammar School principal Louis Stringer was among the crowd and said Mr Morrison's visit was a way of responding to public backlash from the slow response to the bushfire crisis.

"That pushback was from people who felt disengaged and not informed - this demonstrates the prime minister is here to listen and experience what they're experiencing," he said.

Orchardist of 30 years Joe Caltabiano gained the first handshake as Mr Morrison stepped into the room.

Mr Caltabiano said little could be done about the current drought aside from recovery.

"But they can be fixing it so it doesn't happen again - we need dams and we need to not sleep on it," he said.

"There will be another drought for sure - there's temperatures in Orange we've recently seen that aren't normal."

Outside, the mood was less supportive, with members of the Central West Environment Council, Central West Extinction Rebellion and the Environmentally Concerned Citizens of Orange holding placards at both Civic Theatre entrances, asking for a firmer policy on climate change.

The youngest of the protesters, 11-year-old Noah Waterhouse-Bish, said what he saw on the news worried him.

"We need a bit of help," he said.

Meanwhile, ECCO's Nick King said Mr Morrison spent too much time "giving photoshoots" and not acting on the climate issue.

"We can't continue to burn more coal," he said.

Asked later in the day whether he met with the protesters, Mr Morrison answered with a crisp, "no".