OUR SAY: Shame on reporters who talk up the rain

AS A country newspaper reporter I've spent a lot of time talking about rain.... or the lack there of.

I'm all too aware of how dry the soil around the Southern Downs is, so any rain is welcome. But I always cringe when I see reporters from the bigger, city news organisations talking up rain forecasts.

I have significant issues with the phrase "drought-breaking rain". It's thrown around a little too often.

In the 33 years that I've lived in the bush I can only think of a handful of times when there has been a single rain event that's come close to breaking a drought, and they almost always end in a flood. With our soil moisture at historic lows it'll take many, many inches of prolonged rain before we have enough run- off to lift dam levels.

Throwing around claims of drought-breaking rain is cynical at best and cruel at worst.

It's done to generate clicks and page views and leads to false sense of optimism.

For people that live in the cities and the coast it can also create the impression that everything is ok out west.

It saps the pressure on our political class to support farmers and gives them a free pass to move on to some other hot- button issue.

But the main reason the phrase "drought-breaking rain" shouldn't be used it because it doesn't exist, at least not in Australia.

We live on a continent cursed by perpetual drought. There might be a few good years here and there, but for the most part the drought never really breaks.



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