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Transcript - 31829

Remarks to Graziers, Longreach

Photo of Abbott, Tony

Abbott, Tony

Period of Service: 18/09/2013 to 15/09/2015

More information about Abbott, Tony on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 16/02/2014

Release Type: Transcript

Transcript ID: 31829

E&OE……………………….……………………………………………………………

 

It’s great to be here. It’s even better, I guess, to be here when there is real hope of serious rain for the first time in many, many, many months.

 

It looked like the wet was basically failing in this part of Queensland but it seems that there might be a bit of a late burst. Let’s do everything we humanly can and let’s ask the good Lord for any good things that might come this way.

 

So, look, I am here because I thought it was important, Barnaby and Bruce thought it was important, that I should come and see and hear first-hand some if the drought experience of people in western Queensland and western New South Wales as we move to finalise our drought package. There are short term issues, there are long term issues. We can’t solve all problems for all time here and now but there are immediate pressing issues that need to be addressed quite quickly by Government and which I hope to be in a position with Barnaby to make some announcements on in days rather than weeks.

 

There are social issues, there are economic issues and again without pretending that we are going to fix all of them to everyone’s complete satisfaction, I think we will have significant things to say in both of those areas sooner rather than later. Even if the rain does come in the next day or so, even if it is a very substantial rain - drought doesn’t end just because the rains come. The impact of drought lasts for months, sometimes years. In the same way that the impact of fire and flood last for months, sometimes years, after the shock of these terrible events.

 

As far as I am concerned, while dry periods and dry times are a part of life in Australia – and certainly there are things that everyone on the land has had to grapple with since 1788 and the farmers pushing out across the Blue Mountains and opening up the golden west of our country. While we have always had to deal with droughts and flooding rains, there are some droughts that are of such severity that they are more akin to a natural disaster. While it is not the Government’s job to help people to run their businesses, it is Government’s job to help people to adjust to natural disaster. I think there is a clear distinction between the sorts of things that happened and can be expected in the course of successfully and intelligently running a business and coping with an extreme event. If there is no rain, or virtually no rain, for 18 months to two years that is certainly a very extreme event.

 

So, look, it is very good to be here. I am always buoyed and uplifted by the spirit of country Australians. Whenever you talk to country Australians you get the sense that these are people who are eager to do the right thing by their families, by their communities and by their country.

 

I am certain that in a hundred, two hundred, three hundred years’ time country Australia will be just as much at the forefront of our economy as it has been in times past.

 

We talk a lot of the opportunities of Asia. Well, eventually Asia won’t need iron ore or coal in the sorts of quantities that it has in recent times but it will certainly need food. The middle class people of Asia, and hopefully there will be billions of them more as time goes by, are certainly going to need a much better diet than they have had in times past.

 

We are very, very well placed here in Australia to supply that.

 

So, country people are at the heart of our economy as well as the heart of our culture and ethos as Australians. A sensible, intelligent Government wants to make sure that the rural economy is strong and buoyant and appropriate forms of drought relief a very much a part of that.

 

I want to congratulate Barnaby again. I am here today and I will be around tomorrow in western New South Wales again. Barnaby of course until recently lived in St George and he has been doing a lot of work on this issue not just over the last few weeks but over the last few months. I want to thank him for the work he has done.

 

I also want to thank your indefatigable local member for the work that he does, not just at keeping unruly members of Parliament in line, but in being a very strong voice of the people of this part of Queensland.

 

[ends] 

Transcript - 31829