Rural Aid is relaunching its Buy A Bale campaign to raise critical funds to help farmers impacted by the flood crisis across inland New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.
The program raised $100 million for drought relief between 2015 and 2020.
Affected communities could take years to recover from the floods, prompting the urgent revival of Buy a Bale in the lead up to Christmas.
It’s estimated the most expensive floods in the nation’s history have caused $5.5 billion in damages, although the real cost could be significantly higher.
More than 130 local government areas have been declared disaster zones — 78 in NSW, 55 in Victoria.
The Bureau of Meteorology is forecasting above average rainfall over the next two months in many of the already impacted areas.
Rural Aid CEO, John Warlters, said the scale of the flood disaster made it necessary to relaunch Buy a Bale.
“Families are losing their homes and livelihoods and entire towns are being wiped out,” he 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 estimates at least $50 million is needed to adequately support farmers and their families.
It’s concerned the full extent of the disaster has not been communicated to policy makers, corporate Australia and the broader community.
Mr. Warlters is urging governments and private donors to commit to prioritising the well-being of affected communities.
“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,” he said.