Sunday, October 26, 2008

Aussie Govt: "dryness" much better than "drought"

Link
GOVERNMENT experts say the word "drought" is making farmers feel bad and want people to use the word "dryness" instead.

Farmers also needed to accept that drier weather was here to stay, said a report by the Government's hand-picked Drought Policy Review Expert Social Panel.

"Words like drought ... have negative connotations for farm families," the report said.

"There needs to be a new national approach to living with dryness, as we prefer to call it, rather than dealing with drought."

The report criticised the Government's $1 billion annual drought program, under which drought-stricken farmers are paid Exceptional Circumstances (EC) funding.

"For all the assistance provided, farm families, rural businesses and communities currently living with dryness in rural Australia do not feel or perceive they are measurably better off," the report said.

Farming families in drought-declared areas can get an EC payment of up to $21,000 a year.

The report quoted some farmers as saying EC payments rewarded unproductive and irresponsible farmers and were of no help to good operators.