On Sunday, Sydney woman Catherine Hollow shared a photo of her twin sister beside her cattle.
“I took this photo in February 2018 of my sister at her property in Warialda NSW. At that time we were feeding the cattle some supplements to help them process the dry stalks of grass that were left on the ground,” she wrote on Facebook at the time.
“There’s been little to no rain since … today I sat in a cafe and listened to people whinge about the fact that the rain was ruining their Saturday plans (I thought netball being cancelled would be a bonus?) I think only people that have grown up on the land can completely understand the heartbreak and devastation that comes with watching the crops you’ve planted surface, wither and die and the cattle you’ve raised waste away to nothing.
“People are doing it tough, they aren’t whinging about it, they are just trying to get on with it. In some areas it’s the driest it’s been at this time of year in 200 years. So enjoy the puddles guys, get your hair wet, play netball in the rain, take the dog out (it’ll love it) and #thankafarmerforyournextmeal.”
The post has since been liked more than 4000 times and shared over 2000 times and came in the days before Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced farmers in drought-stricken communities can expect further government relief after a prime ministerial whistle-stop tour across outback Queensland and NSW.
Turnbull said he was struck during the three-day tour by the courage, resilience and enterprise of Australian farmers dealing with long spells of drought on the east coast.
“They continue to innovate and have the courage and a self-belief and determination to get on with it,” Mr Turnbull told reporters at Charleville in Queensland on Wednesday.
“It’s our job to provide them with support in every way and that is what we are doing.”
Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said there would be more funding announcements, subject to discussions with the states.
“This isn’t just a federal government responsibility, this is all of our responsibility, and we have to work collaboratively,” he told reporters.
The Prime Minister also doubled down on comments linking the droughts to climate change, after former Nationals Leader John Anderson cautioned him against “politicising” the issues facing farmers.
Mr Turnbull on Monday said his government remained committed to short-term drought relief, but farmers would need to adapt to climate change.
He backed up the comments on Wednesday, saying while the Australian climate had always been variable, the impacts were now very marked.
“You are seeing more variable rainfall and you’re seeing a hotter or warmer or drier climate,” he said.
Mr Turnbull is leaving others to argue about the extent of the climate change and its causes.
“The reality is if you talk to people in the bush – particularly people who have many decades, sometimes more than a century of rainfall and weather records – they will bear out the truth of what I have just said.”
Treasurer Scott Morrison said the Prime Minister was not trying to wage any “climate wars”, but simply observing how things were changing.
“It is important for governments to think about the longer-term impacts of all of this,” he told reporters in Canberra.
Mr Littleproud also acknowledged on Monday climate change was a contributing factor to the droughts.
You can help struggling families ravaged by drought here.
– With AAP