Geurie’s Pip Job has been tasked with helping NSW get through what is being described as the worst drought in more than 20 years.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Minister for Primary Industries Niall Blair travelled to Dubbo on Monday to announce Ms Job would be NSW’s Drought Coordinator, with a third of the state considered to be in drought.
Up to 97 per cent of the state is approaching drought.
“We don’t know if we’re at the beginning, the middle or the end of this drought and it looks different right across the state,” Ms Job said.
“My role is to go out and listen and to better understand what it is the farmers and their communities need … collect that information and then present it back to the government for them to make decisions.”
Scott Tourle, who runs cattle on his property The Springs south of Dubbo, welcomed the announcement.
He predicts the drought could last until 2025.
“To me she’s a great asset to have been brought in as the coordinator,” Mr Tourle said.
Premier Berejiklian, Mr Blair, Ms Job and Dubbo MP Troy Grant toured The Springs on Monday, before meeting with neighbouring farmers including Tralee’s Phil Sheridan.
Mr Grant said the current conditions were already drawing comparisons with the drought of 1982.
“When you start hearing conversations around the district that this could be worse than ‘82 … when we have our locals with dry dams and having trouble accessing feed to feed stock and keep the genetics of their cattle and sheep alive – that’s when you know it’s serious,” Mr Grant said.
“Governments can’t make it rain … but we have a role to play.
[Pip] has really got her finger on the pulse as to what holistically is the best way to approach the current drought situation.Scott Tourle
“I have every confidence in [the farmers’] ability to get through these tough times, but they just need to know the government is with them.”
Premier Berejiklian said the government would make further announcements “in the near future”.
“We’ll be able to liaise with [Ms Job] and make sure the package we put forward is exactly what is needed at the time,” she said.