Drought is crippling Queensland farmers’ livelihoods and devastating rural communities across the country. Currently, 57% of the state is in drought, and has been for up to seven years. Farmers and country people are tough but this protracted drought is challenging for even the most resilient.
If you’re a farmer or live in a rural community and are affected by drought, help is available! Details about assistance and support services available are below.
If you would like to support Australia’s drought-affected farmers, details on how you can lend a hand are also below.
Where farmers can go for help
Farm Household Allowance
Farm Household Allowance (FHA) provides eligible farmers and their partners experiencing financial hardship with assistance through planning and training for long-term financial improvements as well as income support for up to four years.
Applicants are encouraged to not self-assess your eligibility. You can seek advice on eligibility or how to apply for assistance, by contacting the Farmer Assistance Hotline on 13 23 16. Find out more about applying for Farm Household Allowance on the Department of Human Services website.
The Rural Financial Counselling Service
The RFCS provides free services to assist eligible clients with their farm finance strategies. There are two services which, between them provide coverage across Queensland. Head offices are based in Roma (07 4622 5500) and Longreach (07 4652 5666). Interested people may also approach their nearest counsellor directly – you can find their locations and details at: rfcsnq.com.au and rfcsqsw.org.au.
The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army provides drought affected farmers in remote locations with grocery vouches and cash grants and fund rural chaplains.
Farmers can reach out for support by visiting the website here: salvos.org.au.
Are You Bogged Mate?
Are you bogged mate? is all about helping country blokes talk about mental health and suicide while spreading awareness about depression in the bush. The aims to boost awareness and start a conversation with the broader community about the rising issue of depression and suicide rates among men in rural areas. We are confronting the challenges that country men face on a daily basis, talking about mental health, and lighting the path to support.
For more information about the help available and how you can get involved, visit their website: areyouboggedmate.com.au.
We all have good days and bad days. Then there are those days when something isn’t quite right, you’ve got something on your mind, or things just seem too much. Whatever it may be, sharing the load with someone else can really help. So no matter who you are, or how you’re feeling, you can talk it through with us – we’ll point you in the right direction so you can seek further support.
For help, call Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636 or jump on their after hours online chat here: online.beyondblue.org.au/WebModules/General/OutOfHours. For more information about Beyond Blue visit, beyondblue.org.au.
Lifeline is a national charity providing all Australians experiencing a personal crisis with access to 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention services.
Call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or access the after hours online crisis support chat here: lifeline.org.au/get-help/online-services/crisis-chat. For more information about Lifeline visit their website: lifeline.org.au.
Country Call Back
Country Callback is a 24/7 telephone support service for drought affected and isolated communities within rural Australia. The service offers targeted emotional support to rural Australians and the ability to call you back for additional support and check-ins. The service is available to people experiencing personal, social, financial and emotional difficulties as a result of the prolonged drought and rural hardship. The Country Callback service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
For further information call 1800 54 33 54 or visit countrycallback.com.au.
The ifarmwell website has been designed by Australian farmers to help other Australian farmers cope effectively with life’s challenges and get the most out of every day. It does this by sharing practical ways of coping with difficult circumstances, thoughts and feelings (especially worries about things you can’t control) and helping you to work out where it is most useful for you to put your attention and energy.
The website is designed to be useful for both farmers who are currently feeling down or stressed AND those who would simply like some new tools to improve their ability to cope with uncertainty associated with life on the land. To start the five free, engaging modules, register and get started today, or find out more about the program.
How you can help our farmers
Rural Aid provides a number of support programs for rural Australia. These programs provide a range of support services from provision of animal feed, cash handouts, holidays and mental health assistance, education assistance and technology.
Aussie Helpers stays in touch with hundreds of farming families to ensure their well being and survival through good and bad times. The organisation assists farmers in drought areas by donating some feed for their animals to keep their herds alive and assist the families living on the land with necessities like groceries, school fees and other basic essentials of living.
Aussie Farmers Foundation
Aussie Farmers Foundation helps Australia’s farming communities to thrive by supporting them during tough times through economic and environmental sustainability for Australian agricultural communities, disaster relief and recover, kids health and healthy eating, food relief and access to health services including mental health.
Thirsty Cow has cared, or organised care, for hundreds of farmers in need who are adversely affected by natural disaster by offering support, whether it is financial, moral or in kind by gathering, transporting and delivering fodder, fencing, vehicle maintenance and animal care to farmers in need.
Drought Angels provides a unique service for which it is has become well known for within the rural sector. Drought Angels is a small charity run by big hearts, who offer a listening ear, a warm hug and personalised support given to each family. We like to tell our farmers that this is not a handout but a Thank You. “Thank you for all you do to put the food on our tables because without you we would all go hungry”.
The Big Dry Drought Appeal
The Queensland Country Life and North Queensland Register have joined forces with Brisbane radio station 4BC and the Buy A Bale charity to launch The Big Dry Drought Appeal. The Queensland appeal will raise money to buy hay, water, fuel for transport and groceries – which will be distributed through gift cards at the farmer’s nominated supermarket.
To make a donation that will help buy hay, water and groceries for farmers in need, visit: buyabale.com.au/donate. Request a donation barrel to help make a difference here: buyabale.com.au/fundraising-tools/donation-barrel. Order a hay truck poster and gradually fill a load of hay for a farmer here: buyabale.com.au/fundraising-tools/truck-poster-fundraiser. Or click here to sponsor a load of hay: buyabale.com.au/hay-trips/corporate-sponsorship.
Rotary District 9630 Drought Relief
The Rotary District 9630 Drought Appeal has been delivering aid to Drought affected Communities since late 2013 early 2014 using our “Whole of Community” approach including a voucher system, family days and the Rotary Reading Assistance Programme. The relief effort is designed to assist not only the farmers/graziers severely drought affected but to also to provide relief to the small local communities.
To donate to the Rotary District 9630 Drought Appeal, visit: donations.rawcs.com.au/rotary-district-9630-drought-appeal. For more information about Rotary District 9630’s work, see here: Rotary District 9630 Drought Relief Overview.
Drought Relief Fund for Australian Farmers
Channel 9 and Rotary Australia have partnered with the National Farmers’ Federation, launching an appeal to big business and everyday Australians, so we can provide some emergency relief. 100% of donations goes to the farmers and is tax deductible via Rotary and RAWCS.
Queensland Drought Appeal
The Courier-Mail and Sunday Mail joining forces with 7 News and the Country Women’s Association to raise awareness during the state’s showcase bush event, the Ekka.
Anyone who would like to donate to the appeal can visit the Queensland Drought Appeal site here: qlddroughtappeal.com.au or SMS “drought” to 0484 200 200.