The resilience of rural communities in the face of a crippling drought

Across the course of a week we travelled a 1000kms through Mudgee, Lightning Ridge, Goodooga and Coonabarabran. It was an opportunity to visit farms and Aboriginal communities. The overwhelming feeling is a group of highly skilled and resourceful people battling against all the odds to survive. On the two properties we visited near Lightning Ridge the cattle and sheep were being kept alive on a combination of cottonseed and hay from Victoria. There is no ground water left in the dams with bore water keeping the animals alive. For those farmers who grow crops its now been two seasons since the last successful harvest. The drought stretches to the NSW coast with towns like Coonabarabran running out of water and Dunedoo and Coolah having lived through the Sir Ivan fires now facing severe drought. What most impressed me was the resilience of farmers, how most of them had prepared for drought and how they are managing the current situation. What they do need is relief from all levels of government including rates, freight costs and bank charges. I’m looking for businesses wanting to help by providing volunteers through CSR programs to help these communities. Many of the farms have excellent accommodation in shearer’s quarters for leadership retreats or team building exercises. There is also a great opportunity to help the children of Goodooga by providing much needed resources for the community.

Glenn Price

Author Glenn Price

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