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  • Writer's pictureDave Layzell MP


Member for Upper Hunter Dave Layzell has written to the NSW Government seeking clarification of why the Dungog Local Government Area has been left out of a drought grants program.


“The Dungog area was one of the first in the Hunter Region to be identified by the Department of Primary Industries as being drought-affected in June last year,” Mr Layzell said.


“According to the Combined Drought Indicator, the situation only deteriorated during spring and summer, with the most recent report for January 2024 showing Dungog and much of my electorate as being in drought.”


Singleton, Muswellbrook and Upper Hunter Shire councils last month announced that they have received $450,000 to develop and start to deliver the Upper Hunter Drought Resilience Plan.


According to the Regional Drought Resilience Planning website, applications for Regional Drought Resilience Planning Program Round 1, 2022-2024 and Round 2, 2023-2025 have now closed.


The Regional Drought Resilience Planning Program is jointly funded by the Australian Government’s Future Drought Fund and the NSW Government.


“I have written to Minister for Agriculture and Regional NSW, Tara Moriarty, to seek an explanation as to why Dungog has been omitted, at this stage, from the Regional Drought Resilience Planning Program,” Mr Layzell said.


“Farming constituents in the Dungog area have contacted me asking when the NSW Government will announce drought support measures to assist them with this ‘drought declaration’ after the monthly release of the drought indicator reports.

“I am at a loss to explain how Dungog can have the DPI describe it as experiencing drought - yet the NSW Government has not assisted the local community to build drought resilience.”
Mr Layzell has suggested to Minister Moriarty that the Upper Hunter Drought Resilience Plan be expanded to include the Dungog LGA.

“Alternatively, the Cessnock, Maitland and Mid Coast council areas on either side of Dungog – all of which are located within the eastern flank of the Hunter Local Land Services catchment - could form a further Drought Resilience Planning area.

“The Maitland area contains the agriculturally productive areas of Lorn, Bolwarra, Largs, Phoenix Park - west to Maitland Vale and Lambs Valley, within the Upper Hunter Electorate.”


Mr Layzell has requested a meeting with Minister Moriarty to discuss which of the options may be suitable to assist his constituents and how a viable proposal could be progressed.

PICTURE CAPTION: Dave Layzell and NSW Nationals Leader Dugald Saunders meeting with Merriwa farmer Peter Campbell during an Upper Hunter drought tour in July 2023.


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