1457. Hon ROBIN SCOTT to the Minister for Agriculture and Food:
I refer to yesterday's
question without notice 1434. I simply ask: does the Western Australian
government acknowledge there is a drought in regional Western Australia?
ALANNAH MacTIERNAN replied:
I thank the member for the question.
I know that the member thinks that if we say ''drought'', that
suddenly makes a whole lot of things happen. As I have attempted to explain to
the member, none of those commonwealth schemes have within them a definition of
''drought''. Indeed, we absolutely recognise that lots of the
areas in the state have suffered. I am keen to table a document for the member—I
have a few others—a Bureau of Meteorology map that shows the difference
between the circumstances over three years. Technically, when we are looking at
the d-word, we are looking over three years. The map shows the difference
between Western Australia and the eastern states. Most of regional Western Australia,
with the exception of the east Pilbara and a small area in the southern
rangelands, received average or just below average winter rainfall this year.
As I have explained to the member, part of the problem is that a lot of the
policy settings and responses are designed for the eastern states where there
are very profound drops in rainfall that last for three, four or five years,
whereas our problem in Western Australia is a more systemic one. Our averages
are declining across most of the regions, with the exception of the Kimberley
and parts of the Pilbara. There is no magical thing that happens when we say ''drought''.
We are trying to focus on the situations in Western
Australia and how we build more resilience in for our farmers as they face this
increasingly drying and heating climate. I seek leave to table the
[See paper 3440.]