11 February, 2019
The drought is severe.
You’ve got livestock to feed with hay that costs a minimum of $480 per bale — without it, your animals will starve to death.
Your newly-fledged farming business is one you’ve put everything into, but because you’ve not been in operation for long enough, you’re not eligible for most government or private drought assistance programs.
And then you’re told you’ve got three months to be out of your rental property…
Where do you turn?
Anna* from rural New South Wales found herself in this situation. She says, “We didn’t qualify for most assistance programs because we couldn’t supply tax records demonstrating we’d been operating a viable farming business for two or more years. Yet because we have livestock, we’re struggling to meet all the same drought-related expenses as those who are more established and therefore qualify for assistance.”
Anna and her family needed to come up with more than $4000 just to cover their outstanding stock feed accounts. They were totally out of cattle pellets and were rationing out the last bale of hay. She says, “2018 was going to be our first financially positive year. However, with our stock feed and supplement expenses, we’re already well behind the game.”
Then Anna and her family were told they had three months to be out of their rental property.
It was then that she started asking for help, finding assistance through ADRA and the Salvation Army. Sarina Taituave, ADRA Director for Southern New South Wales, was able to help Anna and her family.
“We were all so encouraged after receiving the drought assistance,” Anna says. “It really lifted our spirits. As much as the financial aspect helped, the compassion and understanding — together with genuine courtesy, dignity and trust from ADRA staff — have been a real blessing to us.”
ADRA’s drought response has extended into many communities in rural and regional Australia. Local churches have been able to assess the specific needs in their communities and partner with other organisations to offer help.
In partnering with the Salvation Army to provide drought relief, ADRA Australia has distributed Westpac Visa Cards to farmers in need. These cash cards are offering people identified as falling through the gaps, the flexibility to buy necessities, to pay bills, or to cover medical or school costs.
*Not her real name
ADRA’s Drought Relief Appeal has now closed, but you can continue to support ADRA’s ongoing disaster relief work by visiting www.adra.org.au/respond.