Parliamentary Secretary to the Deputy Premier and Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke has welcomed the announcement of a new, dedicated Office of Drought Response which has been formed to better coordinate support delivered by all NSW Government agencies for farmers, communities, businesses and towns affected by drought.

Ms Cooke said the formation of the new Office will work to ensure water security across regional NSW, as well as address the impact of drought on businesses and communities in the Cootamundra electorate.

“The Office will be staffed by 10 dedicated people and will continue to address the impacts of this devastating drought, which will provide ongoing support to farmers,” Ms Cooke said.

“We all know the crippling effects of drought have reached well beyond the farm gate, and are impacting towns and communities right across regional NSW and the Office will ensure these communities are aware of what support measures are available.

“To date, the NSW Nationals in Government have already provided $1.8 billion in emergency assistance to farmers and communities along with $1 billion for water security projects and the Office of Drought Response will coordinate the delivery of this assistance.

The Office will be staffed by 10 dedicated people and will continue to address the impacts of this devastating drought, which will provide ongoing support to farmers.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Deputy Premier Steph Cooke

“Immediate support is vital but we are also developing long-term strategies to help communities and farmers through recovery when the drought finally breaks,” said Ms Cooke.

The Office of Drought Response will operate within the Department of Planning Industry and Environment, led by Coordinator-General Gary Barnes with the support of the Deputy Secretary, DPIE Water Jim Bentley. Dubbo-based Ken Harrison has been appointed as Director of Drought Response Operations.

Anyone requiring drought assistance is encouraged to visit www.droughthub.nsw.gov.au.