The bush may recover faster from the coronavirus crisis than the big smoke, suggests a politician who has seen the impact of 2020 rain on farming communities in places like Coonamble and Walgett.
Federal Minister for Regional Health, Regional Communications and Local Government Mark Coulton is confident better times lie ahead for the bush given the "engine room of regional Australia is still going full steam ahead".
This week the Member for Parkes dared to look to the future after declaring the Easter Bunny able to travel but not Australians.
"If we just take our eye off what we are supposed to be doing, keeping our distance, only travelling when necessary, then the potential to have this flare up again is quite high," Mr Coulton said.
As for the regions, he offered insight into mood and activity.
"I think the great irony of where we are at the moment is that this is the most optimistic I've seen the rural sector for many, many years," the minister said.
"So right across regional Australia now there's a massive job going on preparing for a winter crop plant, probably as big a crop plant as we've see for a long time.
"Over a foot of rain in some places including Coonamble and Walgett, places that haven't had a crop for several years, are now in full preparation for planting."
Mr Coulton was confident farmers who needed money to plant a crop would find it.
"..the Rural Investment Corporation is getting a lot of applications from farmers looking for funds to plant that crop," he said.
The minister noted some regional and rural businesses were doing it tough, such as hospitality and retail outlets.
But he said industries that "underpin regional Australia" including farming, livestock, transport and mining were working independently and productively.
"..the engine room of regional Australia is still going full steam ahead and I think that will hold us in very good stead coming out the other side of this," Mr Coulton said.
The minister, who has an office in Dubbo, said the Easter Bunny was both immune to COVID-19 and "guaranteed to turn up on Sunday morning".
"One of the reasons the government has freed up the restrictions around interstate transport was to make sure there were plenty of eggs going into all supermarkets," he said.