Drought relief: Call for financial counsellor for farmers to be based in region

AID: About 60 people attended Tuesday's meeting. Photo: Supplied
AID: About 60 people attended Tuesday's meeting. Photo: Supplied

Farmers have called for a rural financial counsellor to be based in the Central West to provide help for producers to cope with the drought.

About 60 people attended a meeting at the CWA Hall in Robertson Park on Tuesday night where advice and information to assist farmers with seeking government financial aid was provided.

NSW Farmers Orange branch chair Bruce Reynolds said a counseller could assist farmers in organising their finances and in submitting applications.

“There is a push to get a rural financial counsellor based around the Orange, Bathurst and Tablelands [area],” he said.

“There really is not a lot of drought support around the Central Tablelands.”

He said it was important farmers sought expert advice.

“Ring their numbers, don’t self-assess,” he said.

“Get the experts to look at your individual case and what [action] you might take.

“There is a lot of paperwork, there is a large number of pages to fill out.”

Ring their numbers, don’t self-assess.

Bruce Reynolds, NSW Farmers

He said they were looking at running at least two community events in the region next month as way of getting farmers together to network and socialise.

Orange region sheep farmer Wayne Culverson, who attended the meeting, backed the call for a financial counsellor.

“That would definitely be of great value,” he said.

“There is quite a few of us who would use it.

“They would probably be able to put more light on the issues we’re facing, we’re all running out of money.”

Mr Culverson, who has three properties around Orange, said the drought was sapping his supplies.

“I’ve always had two years of fodder stored but this time I’ve used that in just over 12 months,” he said.

He said the meeting was valuable for learning about avenues of help for both financial and mental health issues.

Farmers seeking financial advice should contact the Rural Assistance Authority on 1800 678 593 or the Rural Financial Counselling Service on 1800 686 175.