Our farmers continue to experience tough times due to drought. What suggestions do people have in relation to Government and community assistance to help provide some relief?
About 8 years ago, I made the suggestion that we should run a pipeline from the Wonthaggi DeSal plant up to the Murray River and allow unlimited water rights at Metropolitan water prices to give farmers a chance to operate a fully sustainable economic business model whilst building eco-tourism and reducing the government cost of the DeSal plant.
the Murray Darling System supplies nearly 4,000 Gigalitres a year to irrigation. Wonthaggi could produce enough fresh water a year to support those industries for about a week and a half.
The current drought is the worst in 100 years.
Banks need to take a haircut and freeze interest rates. Not shelve the debt and accrue the interest. STOP charging interest until the farmers can start producing again....which is anything up to 18 months AFTER the drought ends.
The government should be providing support to the families who are staying on their properties, support in the form of financial support, AND psychological support, because the stress of dealing with dead and dying livestock, failed crops and pressure from everywhere is enormous.
If it starts raining today, and the dams fill up and the rivers run again, it will take many farming families 10 years to recover from the current drought. Some may never recover. But those family farms create jobs, they redistribute income throughout the local community in a way that massive corporate-owned primary production enterprises dont. The family farm has been in decline in this country for decades, and what lots of people dont seem to get is that for every family farm that disappears, another regional job goes with it. maybe the local fencing contractor runs out of work, or the local shearer, or the local contract hay cutter, or the local livestock transport business, or the local abbotair, or the local livestock agent, or the local saleyards, They all get a bit less because there is a bit less to go around. its death by a thousand cuts for the whole regional community, not just the farmers.
Banks and government. They cant make it rain. But they have the power to retain what is left of the family farming population, and support them for as long as it takes to get them back on their feet, so that they in turn can support the communities in which they live.
as you might gather this is a subject pretty close to my heart. I hope that someone DOES decide to do something that CAN make a difference, but experience tells me that no one with the power to make real change will actually do it.
Farmers need help now and we need to rally the community. Last weekend over 440,000 attended NRL and AFL games and if both sports promoted $7.00 from their the ticket price would be given to the farmers, it would raise $3.1. If you included Rugby Union and have people taking buckets around all the grounds you could raise even more.
If the sports betting agencies who make millions from all sports in Australia offered 10% of each bet would go to the farmers and the corporate world (the banks) got involved surely we could raise in excess of $10M.
Why couldn’t that happen within the next 2 weeks. Come on Australia, let’s rally
The Big Dry Drought Appeal
Macquarie Media, Fairfax Media and Buy A Bale have joined forces to launch The Big Dry Drought Appeal.
By making a cash donation to Buy A Bale, you’ll be helping farmers in a direct and immediate way.
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Here's a little video that shows what many of our farmers are going through
This might sound crazy, but collectively the industry experts here have probably tens of thousands of hours of experience in helping people in need. SO what can this group do?? I dont mean hold a gala ball, I mean something that can provide PRACTICAL assistance to people.
We all know that farming types are nothing if not practical. you dont survive out west for very long if you are all about the emotional journey.
I know that a crusty old grazier from Binnaway is probably not going to be as appreciative of someone offering a hug and cup of chamomile tea that he would be of someone offering to help liaise with the ATO, or look at his finances with a fresh set of eyes.
Trouble is I dunno how to proceed with an offer to assist. I dont want to pinch clients off an accountant in Coonnabarabran, but I am pretty sure that the bean counters in Coona are probably feeling the pinch too.....so how do you go about offering assistance to those in need who are probably too proud to ask for it?? And how do you manage the ongoing relationship this grazier has with his existing accountant?? Dunno......anyone got any clues????