As a Council it is rewarding to be able to provide assistance when it is needed and that is why it was such an easy decision to donate water to Team Rubicon's Litres for the Land relief project.
Team Rubicon is a fantastic organisation made up of Australian Defence Force Veterans who respond to emergencies around Australia and the entire world. They are familiar to Dubbo, having been here throughout the drought providing assistance through delivery of hay, and carrying out property maintenance.
Now they are back and focused on helping with the water crisis so many farmers and landholders are experiencing.
Litres for the Land involved Team Rubicon arranging with local water carters to take much-needed potable water to those who need to replenish empty tanks for essential everyday household use. They are being supported by the fundraising and campaigning of Clubs NSW and radio station 2GB.
I put a Mayor Minute to Council proposing to donate six million litres of water to the cause, at an estimated cost of $25,000. I thought it was quite important that we help farmers in our region.
There is no doubt they are doing it extremely tough and by supporting them through the difficult time, it will also help to ensure their valuable contribution to a prosperous economy for the Dubbo Region once the drought breaks.
The first deliveries of water started last week and will ramp up this week as information on those who need help begins to come in from agencies and organisations across the region.
As the drought goes on, the impacts of the drought continue to be felt by a wider section of the community. It is no longer just farmers and agriculture that is suffering. It is also nurseries, turf farms, pool shops, irrigation shops, but it is even cafes, pubs, clubs and retailers.
Governments need to look at any way they can support these industries so the economies of regional towns and cities doesn't grind to a halt. There is a real danger some towns will not survive the drought if relief isn't provided.
The recover for any town or city, even a strong one like Dubbo, will be slow because of the time it will take for farmers and businesses to recover from such a prolonged and savage period of income deficit.
Another group doing fantastic work to assist those dealing with the drought is Aussie Helpers. They are assisting farmers with stock feed and basic supplies to help them get through. Last week I had the pleasure of being able to open their Dubbo depot, which is located in McGuinn Crescent.
They are getting large numbers of farmers coming through their gates every day in need of assistance and it's great to see Aussie Helpers are able to play that role.
Tough times bring out the best in people and seeing Team Rubicon and Aussie Helpers, along with a number of fantastic organisations, doing their bit for the farming community is outstanding.