Dust and drought

NEWLY-elected state opposition leader Michael O’Brien took a whirlwind tour of farms across Wellington Shire on Tuesday to witness first hand the heartbreaking scenes of barren properties devastated by two years of drought.

Touring the Dutson and Seaspray areas with Gippsland South MLA Danny O’Brien, the opposition leader used the opportunity to take a swipe at Premier Daniel Andrews.

“I’ve been opposition leader for four months and I’ve come up here to see for myself, but Daniel Andrews has been leader for four years and had never been up this far,” he said.

“I’d encourage the Premier to get out from the tram tracks and into the community to see what’s happening up here,” he said.

Mr O’Brien said what he witnessed at Dutson on Tuesday was “shocking”.

Farms once green with pasture are now sandy dust bowls with dry dams and few remaining animals.

Mr O’Brien reiterated calls for the state government to offer more drought relief for farmers and businesses affected by the drought.

“We’ve been calling for rate relief because that’s what farmers want,” he said.

“This drought is affecting many people in the community, because when farmers can’t buy what they need, then businesses suffer too.

“This is filtering down into the entire community.”