Move to help communities suffering through drought

Hawkesbury City Council will investigate what it can to do to assist drought-stricken communities as 99 per cent of the state suffers through the big dry.

The community donated just short of $350 to Buy a Bale at the recent Hawkesbury Fest, and Cr Danielle Wheeler told council’s July 31 meeting people were continuing to give through various local groups and venues collecting money and items to help those in drought.

Urgent help: Sheep at a drought-stricken property in Braidwood, NSW, this month. Picture: Karleen Minney.

Urgent help: Sheep at a drought-stricken property in Braidwood, NSW, this month. Picture: Karleen Minney.

In an urgent motion, Cr Wheeler moved council investigate sending produce from its sewage treatment plant to drought stricken areas to supplement feed stocks, and look at others ways to assist including liaising with a group of Western Sydney University students that had formed to help with drought relief.

“Ninety-nine per cent of the state is now in drought,” she told the meeting. “We have had some excellent news from the State Government to fund a relief package, which also includes counselling and mental health.

“But the NSW Farmers Association has stated that help needs to be easily accessible and it needs to be immediate.

“We still have rural pockets in this LGA [Local Government Area] who truly understand what it means to be drought affected.”

A large bale of hay costs around $100, a small bale more than $20, grocery boxes $170 and care packages $100, so the $350 raised by the community would only stretch so far, Cr Wheeler said.

With the local community so keenly aware of the effects of drought and prepared to help out, it was only right that council did the same thing, she said.

“I think it’s only fair for council to help out as well,” Cr Wheeler said. “As a semi-rural area, we know exactly what drought looks like.

“We are in a position to help and I think we should.”

The motion was carried by council.