NSW drought leader dropped
The NSW Government has sacked its drought coordinator less than a year into the job.
Jock Laurie, a veteran grazier from Walcha in northern NSW, has been informed he is no longer required by the Government.
It comes less than 12 months after his appointment by the Premier. The Government says it will replace the role with a new agency dedicated to drought - the Office of Drought Response.
“[It] will enable increased support for regional communities suffering during this prolonged drought,” a spokesperson for Deputy Premier John Barilaro told reporters.
Mr Laurie was appointed to the job in December, with then-Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair describing him as a “true friend of our farmers”.
“Mr Laurie's advocacy, understanding of the need to protect soil and water, as well as strong relationships with all levels of government stand him in good stead to fulfil this critical role,” Mr Blair said.
It is unclear what unclear prompted the change and why Mr Laurie, who has also been the Water and Land Commissioner, will not be a part of the new office.
Mr Laurie has also served as president of the National Farmers Federation, and was given the role as drought coordinator primarily to ensure no one was left behind in the rollout of the Government's billion-dollar response measures.
The Bureau of Meteorology says 35 per cent of New South Wales is in “intense drought”, affecting parts of the central west, north west and far west.