FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Drought Angels, a relief agency for primary producers struggling through drought, has written an official response to Prime Minister Scott Morrison's recent visit to the Western Downs, after he made a visit to Dalby alongside the minister for water resources and drought, David Littleproud.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Drought Angels, a relief agency for primary producers struggling through drought, has written an official response to Prime Minister Scott Morrison's recent visit to the Western Downs, after he made a visit to Dalby alongside the minister for water resources and drought, David Littleproud.

Drought Angels respond to PM ScoMo's bush visit

Following Prime Minister, Scott Morrison's recent visit to the Western Downs, Chinchilla-based organisation, Drought Angels gave their own, local perspective on the drought crisis. This is their response:

We are a Western Downs organisation who have been providing relief to drought-affected farmers now for five and a half years.

News Corp have asked us to provide response to the recent financial commitment from the federal government to the drought-stricken communities who continue to battle through this testing time.

When Drought Angels first heard of the Prime minister's visit to our region, we were overjoyed to hear the government were coming to experience firsthand the desperate conditions our farmers are in.

We want to congratulate Sco Mo on engaging with the inspiring 11-year-old Jack Berne from Fiver for a Farmer, who has been a tremendous contributor to our fundraising efforts and as one of his charities of choice, Drought Angels has been fortunate enough to receive over $600,000 to date.

John F. Kennedy was famously quoted as stating "the farmer is the only person in our economy who buys everything at retail, sells everything at wholesale and pays the freight both ways."

The funny thing is this was said back in the 60s but the saying has never rung truer in Australia than it does now.

For too long our governments have been systematically letting our farmers down.

We're sure Mr Morrison's $100 million drought relief fund will come as a temporary relief to thousands of farming families around the country.

But we hope this is just the start of a much bigger and more permanent contribution to the nation's producers.

We know this current battle our farmers face  has not happened overnight and isn't something that is going to be fixed in a day either. As our country's leader Australian's are looking to Mr Morrison for hope and a vision of a brighter future that involves our farmers and regional communities prospering, not merely surviving.

Struggling farmers need a lot more support with the day to day living expenses, as their finances dry up in a similar fashion to their paddocks.

Australian farmers don't want to live off welfare they want to be able to make a prosperous living from the land just as they have for generations.

Unfortunately, the situation the country is facing now is a result from years of neglect from all sectors of government and the rest of the nation is only now becoming aware of the repercussions of previous governments decisions.

But now isn't the time to point fingers and lay blame, it's a time for Scott Morrison and his government to act and show the Australian government that you do care about our primary producers and wanting to save the country's agricultural future.  Please be the change we need to save our Farmers.

Jenny Gailey and Tash Johnston with Jack Berne from Fiver for a Farmer.
Jenny Gailey and Tash Johnston with Jack Berne from Fiver for a Farmer. Contributed

It's time the government stopped allowing other nations and political leaders dictate the future of our country and start listening to what the Australian people desperately need.

Bridget McKenzie said, "politicising the drought right now is unconscionable".

This isn't about collecting votes anymore. This is about preserving Australia's agricultural future so that your children and grandchildren can enjoy the fresh local produce we have been fortunate enough to grow up with.

For too long people have said "farmers should be prepared for drought, they should know how to make hay while the sun shines" but the issue in Australia is that farmers aren't making enough money while the sun is shining.

Producers need to be paid better than bottom dollar.

Australia needs to adopt what other countries are doing and put better subsidies in place to ensure our farmers are being paid their worth.

Two Queensland women could see how dire the situation was becoming for our primary producers back in 2014 and made it their mission to do something about it, putting food back on the farmer's tables because the people who feed and clothe our nation shouldn't be struggling to feed their own families.

Five years ago Drought Angels would never have imagined that today the situation could be any more dire for our producers.

For years charities have preached about sending sanitary products and helping provide clean drinking water to third world nations and today you don't have to drive too far to see similar conditions right here in our own backyard.

We meet and hear from farmers on a regular basis who have no longer have access to clean drinking water and have had to resort to drinking their own dam water and go without basic health necessities and personal hygiene items.

It's a firm belief of Drought Angels that charity begins at home.

There's been a lot of figures thrown around in the last week, but these facts still stand: Drought Angels has managed to assist 5,000 families in the last five and half years through the delivery of care packages and pre-paid Visas which provide families struggling with instant relief.

We know this financial assistance provides meaningful relief to the community as a whole by being spent directly at the local butchers, bakers, chemists and newsagencies with each dollar donated being spent in the local economy several times over.

Poet and photographer, Benjamin Wild captures the vast difference the prolonged drought period has made to his family's property in the Marthaguy region in central New South Wales.
Poet and photographer, Benjamin Wild captures the vast difference the prolonged drought period has made to his family's property in the Marthaguy region in central New South Wales. Benjamin Wild

We would like to invite the Prime Minister to come and spend a full day or two with us, and truly experience firsthand just how tight this drought is gripping his nation.

Leave the cameras at home, tell the press to take a day off and simply come and see with your own eyes how tough life has become for the people who produce your beef, grow your grain and harvest the cotton for your green shirts.

We have personally reached out to the Minister for Water Resources, David Littleproud on two separate occasions, inviting him to come back to his own hometown and personally see the work we are continuing to do to support Australian farmers.

At Drought Angels we have always been about saying thank you, not giving handouts.

We know from experience our farmers are much too proud to accept charity; that's never been what our organisation has been about.

We are simply trying to say thank you to our primary producers for all they continue to do for Australia.

Through the wet and the dry, and all the disastrous events in between, these are the people who keep our nation fed and it is high time the government started taking better care of them.