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Farmers say politicians are deaf to ongoing drought

Farmers say politicians are deaf to ongoing drought
Drought stricken farmers in the north of New South Wales say they are being ignored by politicians as they struggle through a one in 100 year drought.

John Uebergang from Crooble, outside of Moree, says the loans schemes and mental health assistance haven't helped his community.

Audio: Farmer John Uebergang from Crooble (ABC Rural)

He says the value of his property is deteriorating as the drought continues.

"We just don't have the equity left to take out the enormous amount in loans to recover," he said.

"Our farms are just falling to pieces, you've only got to drive around some of the farms in this area there's water tanks need replacing, buildings want painting and renovating, they are all falling down.

"We are just not making enough money to do the maintenance on our farms, to do all these things and control all the noxious weeds and the noxious animals that have come along."
Money and mental health linked: Uebergang

Mr Uebergang says he and hundreds of other farmers are still owed money from Iraq's default on wheat payments in the 80s, and the scheme to pay them back over 15 years will mean he won't get the money he is owed until he is in his mid nineties.

He says the mental health of farmers is critical and not enough is being done to help.

"Mental health will never ever be controlled by the methods that they are using at the moment," he said.

"Just putting a few million dollars in to it and having a few more people out there to talk to people and have a cup of tea, that might make them feel good for a few hours.

"But when they get back home and find the fences falling down, the tanks all rusted out and getting blown away by the wind and noxious weeds taking over, their mental health will go back."

Mr Uegergang says the issues of the need for help and poor mental health assistance need to be debated in public with senior politicians from all sides present.

He says he hopes to organise such a forum in Moree before the end of the year.

Author: Emma Brown
Source: Rural
Last modified onFriday, 07 November 2014 06:05

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