THE Franklin Harbour District Council is deeply concerned about the myriad of issues that the shortfall in rain has caused local farmers this season.
I know there are many out there that say it is not as bad as 92 or 68 but I don’t think we should assume all our primary producers are as resilient as one another.
Our concern is that we have a number of new generation farmers who have been trying to build their farms and have not necessarily amassed the reserves to deal with the situation. So we will not be making assumptions.
Council staff attended Primary Industries and Regions SA’s sponsored drought meeting at the complex, and it ran a bus to Rowan Ramsey’s meeting at Arno Bay last week.
We also attended a function organised by Member for Giles Eddie Hughes who brought along the Labor Leader Peter Malinauskas. So yes we have the attention of all levels of government and we heard some great ideas, but they all cost money.
The one thing we have learnt from these meetings is that some of the paperwork required to apply for Farm Household Allowance is not as easy as one would expect. It is understood that there is access to Rural Financial Counsellors, and the council is able to assist with completing the application if required. We are here to help.
We have heard stories of issues with Multi Peril Insurance and will be looking at attempting to gain a better understanding of this and why some policies will payout and others not.
I am pleased that a local group are trying to improve the focus of mental health in and around Cowell.
The council has donated a small amount to help them with some of their start up costs.
Of great concern in times like these is the lack of a resident doctor in Cowell and we have asked for locum support on the days which are not currently covered.
It is important that anyone feeling the pressure has someone to turn to so everyone please keep an eye on your neighbours.
The council will be looking at a variety of events to keep in touch with our farmers so that we can provide an opportunity for them to express their concerns.
Any ideas of what the format of these could be are welcome.
Robert Starr, Franklin Harbour District Council mayor