Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke has welcomed the announcement of Jock Laurie as the new NSW Drought Coordinator.
Mr Laurie, the current Land and Water Commissioner, will lead the second phase of the Government’s emergency drought response in his new role. Ms Cooke said that although the Cootamundra electorate and other parts of NSW have seen some rainfall, the drought is nowhere near breaking. “Rainfall in some areas has been welcome and useful, while other areas have been missing out almost completely,” Ms Cooke said.
“Harvest is being brought in with varying results, but as we get to Christmas and January, conditions will get tougher. This is why the NSW Government is moving to the detailed implementation phase of our $1.1 billion drought response.”
“As a true friend of our farmers, Mr Laurie’s advocacy, understanding of the need to protect soil and water, as well as strong relationships with all levels of government stand him in good stead to fulfil this critical role. He will oversee the implementation of the
Government’s drought relief measures to make sure the right assistance is reaching those most in need. As the drought increases its impact in the area of water access and management, Mr Laurie’s experience as the NSW Land and Water Commissioner will play an important role in assessing at-risk areas and ensuring contingencies are put in place.”
The appointment concludes former National Rural Woman of the Year, Pip Job’s six-month tenure in the role, which she began in May. “Pip has been the NSW Government’s ‘eyes and ears’ on the ground, making sure every region had a voice and was critical to the design of the Emergency Drought Package,” Ms Cooke said.
“She has travelled from Tamworth to Temora, Broken Hill to Bathurst and everywhere in between to ensure the Government, struggling farmers and rural communities are working together as best as we can while we get through this difficult period. Pip joined us in West Wyalong for a Cootamundra electorate drought forum and her insights were invaluable.”
Minister for Primary Industries, Niall Blair, acknowledged Ms Job’s hard work. “I would like to thank Pip for leading the first phase of our emergency drought response. Her dedication and commitment have ensured our farmers know we are standing side by side with them,” Mr Blair said.
For more information on the NSW Government’s $1.1 billion drought package, visit https://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/climate-and-emergencies/droughthub