OPINION: More band-aid fixes for regional problems

ARE they really listening?

I have found myself asking that question of our politicians, at all levels of government, recently.

Most polarising and telling of subjects is the ongoing drought.

The dry certainly has a way of separating the wheat from chaff - and most of our representatives have been found wanting.

Last year there was a flurry of interest from the public, with calls to arms to help our struggling farmers - and policy makers soon followed suit.

Yet 12 months on and the drought has receded from the public's mind, despite the worsening condition so many are facing.

So too has the interest of our politicians receded.

An example of this lack of interest is the Federal Government's Future Drought Fund.

$100 million a year to help farmers drought-proof their properties sounds great - but there's a catch.

No one will be able access it until next financial year.

And once again it speaks to the band-aid approach governments seem to take to regional problems - wait until things become an issue and then act like you're fixing it.

A fund like this should have been set up years ago, so when this current drought arrived, farmers were better prepared.

But that would involve forward thinking beyond the election cycle - something that has been lost from politics in the 21st century.

Instead farmers, and in turn regional communities, are left to suffer through one of the worst droughts in recorded history.

Oh, but don't worry - politicians will still jump to shake your hand during their yearly visit, they might just have to wipe the dust off afterwards.