Here is a side to this drought that few understand, as it's from the farmer's point of view. This is the reality of his situation on a daily basis. It's from a Rotarian in Gunnedah, but could well be from any drought area in Australia.
"People are desperate, and it's not just the farmers. Many feel that the money we have raised, donated by the good people and businesses of Gunnedah, needs to stay in Gunnedah, directed at the businesses in the form of Vouchers.
“Vouchers will not only keep the money local, but force farmers to come to town and get away from their depressing environment. Talk to people. One husband went to the doctor’s in Coona the other day, and three local farmers a week are killing themselves.
“So far our town is not seeing that, and she feels this is because although things are bad, we are banding together and doing things for each other. Supporting each other. But it won't be long.
“Vouchers For example could help with:
- Ammunition/Bullets; $1 per bullet. Farmers need bullets to kill their animals but also pigs/roos that are threatening to eat whatever they have left because they too are starving.
- Dog food – killing roos for dog food when good working dogs need better
- Car repairs – hitting roos left right and centre. They will drive around in dinged cars for ever.
- Vets – not calling them because they are can’t pay the bill. Shooting their animals instead. Maybe they can be saved?
- Meals & Beer - they are not doing anything for themselves. Maybe a beer and meal at the pub will get them a bit of sanity they need without feeling guilty.
- Fuel: $100 to fill a Landcruiser. They are not driving in to town because they are saving money on fuel.
- Tyres : $200 for a tyre
- Kids – family meal, pizza, movies, footy - Kids have no life because they are helping out. Not going to things.
- Water: $400 per load not even fill a 5000gallon. Last a month.
- Pharmacy: not spending money on needed medical supplies.
“Local businesses are hurting.
“There are also the croppers – no income til late 2019. Most people hear and see the farms with not enough stock to feed their animals. What about the croppers who won’t plant a crop this winter so no income at all until next year? Vouchers will give them a huge hand.
“People are concerned about the mental health, and we need to get them talking to people. A voucher will force them. Rotarians need to drive around to the farms and get people to open up. Delivery of vouchers will help.
“My discussions really helped my perspective of the issue and made me think about other options. - there is a valid point about the vouchers, helping our local businesses, as well as our farmers, and I’d say this could be said for all other towns in our district affected."
Yours In Rotary,
Reg Pierce, Chair of RAWCS D9650