Drought: ‘Unlike anything I’ve seen in 50 years’
The nation's worst drought on record continues to grind down farmers' reserves - and their fighting spirits.
Latest photographs show just how dire the situations is for towns in the grip of the big dry - parched, dusty paddocks as far as the eye can see and livestock struggling to survive the harsh conditions.
Boggabri farmer Richard Gillham said the drought was unlike anything he had seen in his 50 years working the land - and the lack of rain was taking a toll.
"We've been buying feed for our sheep for more than 12 months, it's been very expensive," he said.
Mr Gillham runs a mixed operation with his brother near the Namoi River in north west NSW. "The Namoi is only puddles now which means blue green algae will set in and we'll have to move the sheep off the river," he said.
"The best help would be if someone could come and service a few vehicles or swing a fence because no one has time for those maintenance jobs."
Mr Gillham's appeal comes as farmers hand Prime Minister Scott Morrison a comprehensive blueprint on how to help save their livelihoods.
The National Farmers Federation (NFF) last night gave the government its recommendations to improve the nation's drought response, including clearly setting out the roles and responsibilities of the states and Commonwealth. NFF president Fiona Simson said assistance for farmers based on state borders was "really unhelpful".
The government has about a week to consider its response.