Senior members of NSW Farmers will visit with local branches over coming weeks to discuss key issues ahead of the state election.
Members of the state’s peak farming group voiced their concerns about the way renewable energy projects were proceeding – seemingly without a thought for community impact – during recent pre-election debates, including one held in Armidale.
Beginning this week, a series of meetings between local NSW Farmers branches and the organisation’s Board members will look at these issues, with a view to finding practical ways to tackle the problems.
“As a grassroots member organisation, it’s important to make sure we’re in touch with local issues,” NSW Farmers Regional Service Manager Mick Collins said.
“A lot of people are talking about where these solar panels and wind turbines are going, and how the construction process is going to impact not just communities where they’re built, but communities along their freight routes too.”
“We’re going to be taking some of the comments politicians have made at our pre-election debates, and find ways to make sure we get great outcomes for local communities.”
In addition to renewable energy zones and the state election, topics to be discussed will include Farm Fire Unit registration, Water Sharing Plans, potential Coal Seam Gas extraction on the Liverpool Plains, Dungowan Dam and labour shortages, pest and weed management, Inland Rail, and rising input costs.
“Our farmers work hard to grow world-class food and fibre, but they’re facing a lot of headwinds at the moment,” Mr Collins said.
“NSW Farmers, with its broad and growing membership base, is able to get information directly from local members and put that together with our advocacy clout to make sure these issues get taken seriously.”
“I’m looking forward to the meetings, and to sharing this region with our Board.”
The meeting schedule is as follows:
Tuesday, February 21
Gunnedah/Tambar Springs Branch – Tambar Springs Hotel from 11am
Tamworth Branch – West Leagues Club from 6.30pm
Wednesday, February 22
Moree Branch – Moree Services Club from 6pm
Thursday, February 23
North Star/Croppa Creek Branch – Vicarage Café from 10am
Walgett East Branch – Walgett Sporting Club from 6pm
Friday, February 24
Caroona/Spring Ridge Branch – Spring Ridge Hotel from 1pm