Parkes Shire Council will activate immediate drought support measures locally, following a Drought Committee resolution made yesterday.
Councillors voted to adopt a suite of drought relief initiatives, which include immediate access to domestic and stock water free of charge for rural residents from Council’s standpipes. Cr Neil Westcott suggested “these measures should be implemented immediately”.
Council will also investigate options for subsidising potable water cartage.
Parkes Shire Mayor, Councillor Ken Keith OAM said, “we recognise that we must do something at a local level, to help our local agricultural sector.”
“While these measures aren’t a long-term solution, they will provide some short-term relief for our farming families doing it tough.”
Additionally, as a small token of assistance to drought affected community members, Council unanimously supported the resolution to provide free entry to all shire pools for the coming season.
Cr Bill Jayet believed this gesture might provide some small respite and a friendly gathering place for families. “With the drought intensifying, our farmers, businesses and residents will all be affected.”
“Opening our pools in Parkes, Trundle, Tullamore and Peak Hill free of charge throughout the coming season, could serve to provide some respite from the day-to-day distress of this worsening drought,” he said.
On Sunday, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull visited the Central West to announce an additional drought assistance package, which included an allocation of $1 million to 36 Councils throughout New South Wales.
“This period of prolonged drought has already had a flow-on effect for businesses and the whole community, so it is imperative we take a holistic approach moving forward,” the Mayor added.
“Council will host a community forum in the coming weeks to discuss how the money can be applied for best effect across the Parkes Shire.”
“Landholders, agri-businesses and local support organisations are encouraged to attend to provide ideas and suggestions.”
The Mayor will visit Canberra later this week as part of the CENTROC Drought Committee delegation to proactively lobby the government for further assistance.
“I will also be lobbying for the reinstatement of a Parkes based Rural Financial Counsellor to improve access to services and support for our immediate community,” concluded the Mayor.
For information on current state and federal government relief packages contact the Central Region’s Rural Financial Counsellor at www.rfcscr.com.au or phone 1800 940 404.
Any rural rate payer in the Parkes Shire who is seeking confidential discussions around accessing Council’s hardship provision for rates, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 02 6861 2304.