Farmers gathered at Scone Polo Fields yesterday to touch base with services face-to-face, but also just as importantly catch up and also simply share a laugh with one another.
Hunter Local Land Services (HLLS) put on the event making themselves available to answer questions on a number of their services, help farmers fill out forms for government assistance and also make other local services available like the Country Women’s Association, Rural Aid and local Rural Financial Counsellors.
HLLS General Manager Brett Miners said the event is a really important part of drought assistance.
“One of the risks for landholders is when they get stuck on their properties and become isolated,”
“A real take home message for landholders is please don’t self-assess. We hear lots of examples every week of people saying they won’t be eligible for something or I won’t be able to get the support that I need.”
Brett Miners is urging farmers not to just go with what you hear on social media or in the media.
“We really are encouraging people to come to event like this, pick up the phone and talk to us and make sure people get an accurate assessment,” he said.
The paperwork that goes with farmers applying for subsidies and payments from both levels of government is a big concern among local farmers.
“The paperwork is always daunting. But we’ve had lots of examples of landholders getting through that information so just please come to events like today, give us a call, between ourselves and the Rural Resilience program we can help you get through that paperwork,” said Brett Miners.
Another part of the event was having players from the ACT Brumbies and the NSW Wallabies come and do a free training session with the kids.
It was in a bid to ensure parents came out to the event where they wouldn’t have usually been able to.
Brumbies manager Bill Swain said the afternoon was all about the local community.
“It’s simply about rugby supporting the country people.”
“We just think its really important that we can be fierce rivals on the field but off the field, we want to be working together and supporting both the code and communities together,” said Bill Swain.
The big part of the day was seeing the farming families spending the afternoon together talking with each other and sharing their stories.
“This is a testament to rural communities, the resilience of our rural communities is really, really strong,” said Brett Miners.
“That’s why days like today are so important because people get out, they share a story, they can share a laugh, they can just share a common understanding that we are all in this together including local agencies like ourselves,”
“We’re conscious of the people who don’t come out to things like this. We are really encouraging all of those rural landholders to look out and look over their fences to see a neighbour who might not have come and out and see if they’re ok,” said Brett Miners.
To get in touch with HLLS call 1300 795 299 or visit: https://hunter.lls.nsw.gov.au/
To get in touch with Rural Aid call 1300 327 624 or visit: https://www.ruralaid.org.au/
Image credit: Grant Broadcasters/Jessica Rouse