Dams over frogs, says NSW deputy premier

NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro wants the sale of the Snowy Hydro scheme to fund dam-building.
NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro wants the sale of the Snowy Hydro scheme to fund dam-building.

NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro is adamant Australia must build more dams to drought-proof regional Australia - and if a couple of frogs die, so be it.

As the drought sinks its teeth further into the state, communities' domestic water supplies are drying up, leaving some towns months away from running dry.

Mr Barilaro said there needed to be lessons learned about measures to help during future droughts.

"We've allowed, unfortunately, the vocal minority, often the Greens, the lefties, to stop us building dams," he told reporters in Dubbo on Thursday.

"If a couple of frogs have got to die to build a couple of dams, I tell you what, I'd rather support communities and families over frogs."

He said past governments - both coalition and Labor - had failed to get water-saving projects up and running.

"Governments of all colours and persuasions over the last couple of decades, unfortunately, haven't built the infrastructure to meet our needs," he said.

The state Nationals leader said his government had funded bores at Bourke, a pipeline to Guyra and continued to work closely with Tenterfield, which among the hardest hit by crippling water shortages.

"To say can you guarantee (towns won't run dry), I can't guarantee that but I tell you what, we're not going to leave a community stranded. We'll do whatever it takes," Mr Barilaro said.

He wants to use a hefty chunk of money generated from the sale of the Snowy Hydro scheme to the federal government to fund the Nationals' dam-building agenda.

Dubbo's livestock markets will get a boost from a drought stimulus fund, with the state government announcing $6 million to improve a road intersection outside the saleyards.

Australian Associated Press