Mr RAMSEY (Grey–Government Whip) (13:46): It comes as no surprise to members of this House that there is a drought gripping most of Australia. A lot of publicity and attention has quite rightly been on eastern Australia, New South Wales and Queensland, but it is my melancholy duty to inform you that it also affects at least part of my electorate. Last Wednesday night at short notice I held a drought forum at the Arno Bay Hotel, which is on the eastern Eyre Peninsula. About 75 people rolled up. I’m indebted to the Centrelink officer, Rob Holtham, and the rural financial counsellors, Chris Fitzgerald and Charlie Goode, for attending. Large swathes of land across Eyre Peninsula and other places around the electorate-the upper end of the Mid North, the eastern side of the Mid North, the North East Pastoral District-are all dealing with these issues. A large area in the middle of the Eyre Peninsula has just received very good rainfall of 40 to 50 millimetres at the western end, but at the eastern end less so: around 15 millimetres. A lot of land is drifting and a lot of farmers are struggling with that scenario at the moment, trying to get cover on their properties. It was a good opportunity to run through the changes that the Prime Minister announced the weekend before around the farm household allowance, the lifting of the thresholds, and the extra $12,000 that would go to a couple. In fact the total package for farming couples could be as high as $46,000 over a 12-month period. They were very interested in what we had to say.