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Parliamentary Questions

Question Without Notice No. 1457 asked in the Legislative Council on 27 November 2019 by Hon Robin Scott

Parliament: 40 Session: 1

Answered on

DROUGHT — SOUTHERN RANGELANDS

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?

Hon 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 document.

[See paper 3440.]