The dire flood crisis continuing to grip huge areas of land and communities within New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia has prompted the urgent relaunch of Rural Aid’s Buy a Bale rescue campaign in the lead up to Christmas.
Thousands of rural families face a bleak festive season, with recovery from what has been deemed Australia’s most expensive flood event hampered by ongoing rain across the more than 130 local government areas already declared disaster zones.
Rural Aid has now made an urgent plea for donations through the Buy a Bale program, which first came to prominence when it raised $100 million for drought-affected farmers between 2015 and 2020.
Rural Aid CEO, John Warlters, said the scale of this disaster made it necessary to bring Buy a Bale back.

“These floods have had unprecedented impact on rural Australians – families are losing their homes and livelihoods and entire towns are being wiped out,” Mr Warlters said.
“Hay supplies are running out and stranded animals are drowning and starving. Crops are rotting in the ground.
“It’s time to bring Buy a Bale back, not only to provide much-needed fodder deliveries, but also to offer financial assistance, clean drinking water, volunteer and counselling support to Aussie farming families facing this crisis.”
Rural Aid predicts at least a two to three-year recovery for communities, with the funds required to adequately support farmers and families estimated to be in excess of $50 million.
With concerns the extent of the disaster has not been fully communicated to policy makers, corporate Australia and the broader community, Mr Warlters is urging governments and private donors to commit to prioritising the wellbeing of affected communities.
“We’re ready to execute an extensive recovery support program based on a tried and tested approach, but we need as much help as we can get,” he said.
“With the generous support of the broader community, we can help keep our farmers going, get them back on track, keep homegrown produce on our tables, and stand with our mates in regional Australia.
“These families need help, and they need it now. Without it, they face a frightening and uncertain time as the rest of the country gears up to celebrate Christmas.”

Deniliquin farmer and Rural Aid board member, Airlie Landale, said the floods have been catastrophic.
“It is now summer, yet it still feels like winter is rolling on and haunting us. It feels wrong to be speaking about too much rain, but these floods have taken a toll on so many,” Ms Landale said.
“Farmers have lost thousands upon thousands of hectares of crop, producers have lost livestock, fences and their homes, and rural communities and businesses have been isolated and inundated with water.
“It will take months – if not years – for people to recover, but I know the strength and resilience of our rural people will once again shine though.”
All donations received by Rural Aid ensure the ongoing provision of critical economic and empathetic assistance to farmers, including the expansion of their national mental health and wellbeing program.
To support Rural Aid or make a donation go to: www.buyabale.com.au

Media enquiries:
Ashleigh Whittaker, Rural Aid media
0447 116 757

John Warlters, Rural Aid CEO
0409 618 641
 
More about Rural Aid
Rural Aid is Australia’s most trusted rural charity. We stand with our farmers when they need us most. Well known for the highly successful ‘Buy a Bale’ campaign, provides critical support to farmers affected by natural disaster through financial, wellbeing and fodder assistance. Rural Aid’s community programs help create more sustainable communities by building stronger futures for all Australian farmers. Find out more at www.ruralaid.org.au 

RECENT flooding across New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia has been declared the most expensive in the nation’s history and a natural catastrophe by trusted rural charity, Rural Aid, as the dire consequences to regional communities become more clearly understood.
The flood, which made its way across the three states, including in key agricultural production zones, between September and November has already resulted in more than $5.5 billion in damages. The true cost, however, is estimated to be significantly higher given farmers may not have been insured for many of the losses incurred and there remains limited information as to the ongoing loss of income thousands of rural businesses will suffer.
In total, more than 130 local government areas (LGAs) have been disaster declared, including 55 of the 79 LGAs in Victoria and 78 of 128 in NSW.

There is now also a growing possibility the flood event will be protracted and episodic with the Bureau of Meteorology predicting above average rainfall from December to January in many of the already impacted areas.
Rural Aid CEO, John Warlters, said there were immediate concerns for the wellbeing of affected families leading into the Christmas period and a growing feeling the ongoing impact of the flood event had not yet been grasped by policy makers, corporate Australia, and the broader community.
“This flood event has destroyed homes and livelihoods, wiping millions of dollars from farm incomes and causing immeasurable mental anguish and stress,” Mr Warlters said.
“It is difficult to measure the true toll the floods are taking, and will continue to take, on impacted farmers and communities – many of whom have experienced drought, bushfires and multiple flooding events in just the past four years.
“Our immediate concern is the mental health and wellbeing of families in the leadup to Christmas, however, once the emergency subsides, communities face a long and challenging road to recovery. It is imperative they are not forgotten in the process.”

Rural Aid predicts at least a two-year recovery for communities, with the funds required to adequately support farmers and families estimated to be in excess of $50 million.
This includes immediate assistance with fodder, clean water and cash payments; community activation of Rural Aid’s Farm Army of volunteers; and longer-term mental health support from its team of accredited counsellors.
In response to the unfolding disaster the organisation is relaunching its Buy a Bale fundraising campaign which was popular during the equally significant recent drought. Rural Aid has already sourced hay for the Central West NSW region and expects much more will be required in the months ahead.


Mr Warlters said Rural Aid stood ready to execute an extensive recovery support program, using a tried and tested approach, but would require both private and government funding to respond adequately to the families who need help.
“Rural Aid holds a deep connection with the nation’s farming families and has the ability to efficiently and effectively deliver assistance, including a team of accredited counsellors who are experienced in delivering unique, tailored on-farm counselling services,” Mr Warlters said.
“However, to deliver this at the scale required in this unprecedented instance, we critically need the support of the corporate sector, the public and both State and Federal governments to commit to prioritising the wellbeing of affected communities.

“We’ve always been overwhelmed by the generosity of Australians in supporting our programs that help farmers in need.
“This particular event poses a unique challenge in that unlike the drought, where some farmers were better prepared or could take steps to manage the impact, this has been sudden and widespread. Additionally, the many years of droughts, floods and fires have left many families at breaking point.
“If you’re in a position to do so, please consider making a donation and helping them get back on their feet as they navigate a very difficult journey ahead.”

To support Rural Aid or make a donation go to: www.buyabale.com.au

Media enquiries:

John Warlters, CEO Rural Aid
M: 0409 618 641
E:john.warlters@ruralaid.org.au


More about Rural Aid
Rural Aid is one of Australia’s largest rural charities. Well known for the highly successful ‘Buy a Bale’ campaign, the charity also provides financial assistance, water and counselling to farmers in times of drought, flood or fire. Rural Aid has the systems, processes and strong focus on governance to be a crucial partner for government, both state and Federal, in delivering immediate assistance and long-term support.

Australia’s most trusted rural charity has labelled its new ‘Community Builders’ program a success after its trial in West Australia’s Wheatbelt.  

Rural Aid’s Community Builders program invited representatives from a dozen south central Wheatbelt towns for a series of leadership workshops.  

The ‘cluster muster’ workshops, run over the past five months, empowered locals to grow their towns and regions, together.  

Each town sent community members to the monthly workshops to learn about tourism opportunities, regional collaboration and marketing strategies.  

Rural Aid’s Community Programs Coordinator, Jen Curnow-Trotter said the program was a resounding success.  

“It was fantastic to see the locals forming strong bonds and learning new things- even about their neighbours- throughout the course,” Ms Curnow-Trotter said.  

“The Community Builders program has enabled these towns to identify their strengths and weaknesses, pull together a plan and begin solving their challenges with renewed confidence.” 

The workshops were held in Kulin, Dumbleyung, West Arthur and Cuballing.  

Attendee and Wagin representative Clancy White said the program was practical and insightful.  

“We’re getting a toolkit of skills on how to take some of these lessons and use them to activate our own towns,” Mr White said.  

Ms Curnow-Trotter said the program itself was a demonstration of community collaboration.  

“We are so grateful to have had amazing guest speakers attend and share their knowledge.” 

“This program would not have been possible without small town expert Peter Kenyon from the Bank of I.D.E.A.S sharing his endless insights.  

“And a big thank you to CBH Group for providing catering for our participants,” Ms Curnow-Trotter finished.  

The teams will reconvene in February to finalise their plans for 2023.  

The last Cluster Muster, and program graduation, is happening this Sunday, 27 November, in Pingelly.  

For more information or interviews, contact Rural Aid media on media@ruralaid.org.au or 0447 116 757.

About Rural Aid 

Rural Aid is Australia’s most trusted rural charity. We stand with our farmers when they need us most. Rural Aid provides critical support to farmers affected by natural disaster through financial, wellbeing and fodder assistance. Rural Aid’s community programs help create more sustainable communities by building stronger futures for all Australian farmers. Find out more at www.ruralaid.org.au 

Australia’s most trusted rural charity is hoping to raise $2.4 million dollars today, to help even more primary producers as they battle extreme natural disasters.  

Australians are being urged to ‘Give our mates a hand’ on November 23 as part of Rural Aid’s annual giving day, Mates Day.  

Rural Aid CEO John Warlters said there’s no better time to help our farmers, as thousands of primary producers grapple with relentless, life-changing floods.  

“It doesn’t get any tougher than what our farmers are experiencing with these devastating, widespread floods in large parts of New South Wales and Victoria,” Mr Warlters said.  

“Right now, half the farmers registered with Rural Aid are in these flood-impacted communities. South Australian communities are bracing for the worst, as gigalitres of water move down the Murray River.”  

“Money raised on Mates Day will allow Rural Aid to help even more farmers with critical financial, counselling, and fodder support.” 

The demand for Rural Aid’s assistance has increased markedly over recent weeks, particularly from farmers seeking free counselling from Rural Aid’s team of qualified mental health professionals.  

“Rural Aid has witnessed a three-fold increase in the number of farmers seeking counselling sessions over the past three weeks,” Mr Warlters said.  

“Understandably, many of our farmers are at their limits after watching their livelihoods getting swept away,” Mr Warlters said.  

A number of generous corporate partners have joined forces with Rural Aid to match the public’s donations on Giving Day (until funds are exhausted). 

Award-winning singer Jem Cassar-Daley, daughter of country music legend Troy Cassar-Daley, has also lent her voice to Mates Day, recording a cracking new version of show-stopping ballad ‘You’ve Got a Friend’ for the Rural Aid event.  

Mr Warlters said Mates Day was an opportunity for all Aussies to throw their support behind our primary producers and help Rural Aid reach its $2.4 million fundraising target. 

“Farmers are the people we all need three times a day. We need the professionals who grow our food every breakfast, lunch and dinner. That’s our farmers and they are some of the best in the world,” Mr Warlters said. 

“Please donate if you can by visiting our website or calling 1300 327 624.” 

Rural Aid’s annual Mates Day takes place on Wednesday 23 November and donations can be made at www.ruralaid.org.au/donate

 

For more information or interviews, contact Rural Aid media on media@ruralaid.org.au or 0447 116 757.  
 

About Rural Aid 

Rural Aid is Australia’s most trusted rural charity. We stand with our farmers when they need us most. Rural Aid provides critical support to farmers affected by natural disaster through financial, wellbeing and fodder assistance. Rural Aid’s community programs help create more sustainable communities by building stronger futures for all Australian farmers. Find out more at www.ruralaid.org.au 

Australia’s most trusted charity is offering immediate financial assistance to primary producers impacted by the recent flooding events.
Eligible, registered farmers across Victoria, New South Wales and Tasmania can now apply for a $500 pre-paid visa card from Rural Aid.
Rural Aid CEO John Warlters said the financial assistance will help farmers make ends meet in this difficult time.  
“Many farmers are in an anxious state right now, with flood water putting livestock, crops and livelihoods at serious risk,” Mr Warlters said.
“When the flood water recedes and farmers survey the damage, the true extent of this flooding crisis will become clear.
“Rural Aid is standing with our farmers to help them work through what will be a lengthy, expensive and overwhelming recovery.
“This flood-specific financial assistance will help make the recovery that little bit easier.”
Leading agribusinesses GrainCorp and Elders have made generous donations collectively totalling $250,000 to support Rural Aid’s flood response efforts.
Mr Warlters said the donations were very welcome and meant Rural Aid would be able to assist more families in more communities.

Deniliquin farmer and Rural Aid board member, Airlie Landale said the floods have been devastating.
“It is nearly summer, yet it still feels like winter is rolling on and haunting us. It feels wrong to be speaking about too much rain, but the impact of recent floods has been devastating for so many,” Airlie said.
“Farmers have lost thousands upon thousands of hectares of crop, producers have lost livestock, fences and their homes, and rural communities and businesses have been isolated and inundated with water. It will take months – if not years – for people to recover, but I know the strength and resilience of our rural people will once again shine though.”
Mr Warlters added that the Rural Aid counselling team is ready to travel to the worst-affected communities.
“Where flood waters have safely receded, Rural Aid’s counsellors are preparing to head on-farm to offer dozens of farmgate chats, cups of tea and formal counselling sessions.
“I’d encourage any primary producer not already registered with Rural Aid to sign up today to access the full range of assistance measures on offer,” Mr Warlters finished.
Farmers can register at www.ruralaid.org.au or by calling 1300 327 624. Flood-affected farmers can apply for assistance here: https://www.ruralaid.org.au/services-provided/flood-assistance/
 
For more information or interviews, contact Rural Aid media on media@ruralaid.org.au or 0447 116 757.

About Rural Aid
Rural Aid is Australia’s most trusted rural charity. We stand with our farmers when they need us most. Rural Aid provides critical support to farmers affected by natural disaster through financial, wellbeing and fodder assistance. Rural Aid’s community programs help create more sustainable communities by building stronger futures for all Australian farmers. Find out more at www.ruralaid.org.au