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Drought Relief Welcome, Longer Term Planning Needed

Cassy O'Connor MP

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Sunday, 17 January 2016

Tags: Drought, Primary Industries, Climate Change

Cassy O'Connor MP | Greens Leader and Climate spokesperson

The Tasmanian Greens welcome Minister Rockliff's announcement of financial relief for drought stricken Tasmanian farmers but we also want to see this government recognise that hotter, drier conditions are becoming the new 'normal' and longer term planning is needed.

The $10M loan fund will provide some relief for farmers who are suffering the economic and emotional consequences of drought but it won't help our producers adapt to increasingly frequent climate-related dry conditions.

Tasmania has produced some of the world's best fine-scale climate science in 'Climate Futures' so we have a reasonably clear picture of how our landscape will change over the next century.

Hotter, drier conditions in prime agricultural areas are likely to become the norm.  Government, scientists and policy makers need to work with farmers who are closely connected to the land to ensure they can not only adapt to climate change, but find new ways of working that ensure our agricultural sector prospers in the future.

Regrettably, the Liberals in government don't appear to want to take global warming seriously.  They abolished the Ministerial Climate portfolio and the independent Climate Action Council soon after taking office in March 2014.

They then ditched the previous government's comprehensive Climate Smart strategy and have recently delivered a weak, non-committal draft Climate Action Plan.

Global warming presents us with huge challenges and significant opportunities.  We have some of the best climate scientists in the world living in Tasmania along with an agricultural sector that has enormous expertise and potential.

While short term support such as today's announcement is welcome, it is no substitute for comprehensive long term planning which has been abandoned by the Liberals.