Founder of Aussie Helpers Brian Egan, a rural based volunteered operated charity, has said that Aussie Helpers is launching a huge rescue mission for farmers and graziers in the Walgett/Lightning Ridge area. Mr Egan said that after many calls for assistance to the charity for assistance and Aussie Helpers speaking with many landholders and social workers it has been decided to go above and beyond the assistance that the charity normally gives in drought affected areas.

Using the example of the Turnbull family of Bando Station Mr Egan said that this family is a fourth generation farming family who have had to retrench a permanent worker as well as two casual workers over the past two and a half years. The families’ last grain harvest was in 2012 and stock has been sold at the alarming rate of three quarters of the flock of 20,000 sheep and almost all of the normal herd of 500 head of cattle to provide income to continue to feed the remaining core breeding stock.

This example is general across the whole of the Walgett shire and is a sad indictment of both Federal and State governments handling of this disaster area in NSW where input costs, market volatility and increased red tape along with reduced international and domestic competition across a wide ranging number of farm products.

Mr Egan said that Aussie Helpers will be providing a rescue mission costing some $300,000 in an endeavour to keep farmers on their properties and remaining stock fed

 More than two hundred families to be personally visited on their properties by Aussie Helpers volunteers
 More than two thousand half tonne bales of hay to be given to farmers that have stock left (that’s more than one thousand tonnes)
 More than two hundred thousand litres of liquid stock feed to be given to farmers that have stock left (this is supplied in one thousand litre pods)
 More than fifty tonnes of loose lick and lick blocks will be given to farmers that have stock left ( these contain nutrients for stock to survive)
 More than one thousand injectable bags of calcium/phosphorous/glucose to be given to farmers who have stock left (these are brilliant to give sheep and cattle an instant hit if they are down)
 More than two hundred full size bags of dog food to every property visited
 Ten thousand dollars will be given to farming families in fuel cards
 More than two hundred and fifty gift boxes of food supplied by Aussie Helpers and Foodbank Queensland to every farm visited
 Free on farm counselling by qualified Psychologists supplied by OPTUM to assist with mental health problems

Mr Egan said that the initial planning had been done a few weeks ago and now Aussie Helpers have five bases set up across the shire where farmers will be able to come and collect the products being suppled free of charge, each base will also provide a barbeque on the day for farmers to socialize. Mr Egan also mentioned that banks were causing a tremendous amount of stress in the farming community with some families virtually living in fear of losing their farms, he has called for the Federal government to reign in the way that banks have been treating rural families suffering drought through no fault of their own.

Mr Egan went onto thank companies and other farmers who have helped out with this project, Ridley Agripoducts, Bayer Animal Health, Wilmar Sugar, Foodbank Queensland, OPTUM, Lions International and many farmers in South Australia for donating a lot of hay

Contact Brian Egan 0488 123400