Australia: No magic wand on drought, Morrison argues - - PressFrom - Australia

Australia No magic wand on drought, Morrison argues

01:45  15 october  2019
01:45  15 october  2019 Source:

Scott Morrison defends drought action

  Scott Morrison defends drought action Prime Minister faces tough grilling from Alan Jones after farmer's heartbreaking call.Prime Minister Scott Morrison has defended his government's action on tackling the drought after personally calling a distressed farmer who broke down on national radio yesterday.

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Prime Minister Scott Morrison.© Getty

Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

Scott Morrison has defended his government's response to the ongoing drought, after hearing the desperate pleas of an outback community member in distress.

The prime minister, when repeatedly pressed by Sydney radio host Alan Jones, insisted he was doing all he could to help drought-ravaged rural and regional towns.

"We want the farmers and the communities to get through this drought, but we can't kid ourselves that there's a magic wand and a magic cash splash that is going to make this thing totally solved," he told 2GB on Tuesday.

Challenged about Australia sending $1 billion to Indonesia after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, Mr Morrison replied: "We're doing more than that in the drought, we're doing seven times that."

Battling farmer reveals contents of PM's call

  Battling farmer reveals contents of PM's call The farmer who was phoned by Prime Minister Scott Morrison after his emotional radio outburst has revealed the contents of their call. Mark Hollman, from Bourke, told 2GB's Alan Jones: "We're dying out here" as he demanded more government action to help people struggling in the drought.His raw emotions prompted Mr Morrison to pick up the phone, and as Mr Hollman tells 9NewsWatch's Sylvia Jeffreys their conversation has given him "a little hope".Mr Hollman ran a citrus farm until it went bust during a drought in the early 2000s. He raised all four of his children in the NSW outback.

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The interview featured a recorded call from a man named Mark in Bourke, who became emotional about the devastating effect of the drought in northwest NSW.

Mr Morrison called Mark after hearing his message last week, and said he was satisfied with the coalition's efforts to support those in need.

But in a testy exchange with the radio host, the prime minister was pressed to bankroll farmers struggling to keep breeding stock alive.

Pictures: Australia's drought, the cancer eating away at farms

The Wider Image: Australia's drought - the cancer eating away at farms: A lone tree stands near a water trough in a drought-effected paddock on Jimmie and May McKeown's property located on the outskirts of town of Walgett, in New South Wales, Australia, July 20, 2018. From ground level, Australia's drought looks like a featureless, brown dustbowl, but from the air it transforms into an artistry of colour and texture as the land cracks under a blazing sun.

Mr Morrison argued fodder and freight subsidies were the responsibility of state governments.

"The government - whether it's state, federal or anyone else - we can do a lot of things to help people try and get through this but the government cannot make it rain," he said.

"And the government can't make life as it was before the drought. And if anyone is suggesting that could be done, then they are lying to the people of rural and regional Australia."

The prime minister was also urged to release a report authored by drought co-ordinator Stephen Day.

"He provided that report to the government ... it's coming through cabinet at present," Mr Morrison said.

"His report has already informed so much of what we've done already. Cabinet is finalising its final response to that report."

Government's $7b drought claim under fire .
Labor has put the blowtorch on the federal government's claim it is spending $7 billion on the drought, during a heated Senate estimates hearing in Canberra. The Morrison government's much-trumpeted spend of more than $7 billion for drought relief has come under fire, with a Labor senator accusing senior ministers of lying.Opposition frontbencher Murray Watt grilled Agriculture Minister Bridget McKenzie over the drought response during a heated Senate estimates hearing in Canberra on Tuesday. require(["inlineoutstreamAd", "c.

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