Rapid Relief Team (RRT) arrived on the NSW South Coast today, 20 February, as part of Operation Fire & Drought Relief, delivering 369 bales of hay donated by Rio Tinto to bring hope and a helping hand to both fire and drought-affected farmers in the region.

As a result, farmers
and their families directly impacted by the recent bushfires and longstanding
drought from areas around Bemboka, Cobargo, Bodalla, and Moruya each received a
donation of hay.

369 tonnes of donated hay was trucked from Wubin, Western Australia on five road trains, stopping in Canberra to break the load down to 10 road train semi-trailers, for delivery to South Coast farmers.

Collaboration with both the NSW Farmers Federation and the Bega Beef Board was important to ensure the hay went to those families who needed it most.

To date, as part of the ongoing Operation Drought Relief, our volunteers from the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church (PBCC) have distributed over 12,525 tonnes of hay and 1,621 bulker-bags of livestock supplement to 2,773 farmers across Australia.

RRT volunteers also served up a mean burger and fresh cup of coffee in Bemboka as the local community came together to have a bite to eat and support their neighbours in need.

Managing Director Ron Arkcoll said Christian values of care and compassion motivated them to help farmers across both bushfire and drought-stricken Southern NSW.

“Today was about bringing together our farmers and bringing together a community to have a bite to eat, a chat with mates and support each other through some ongoing tough times,” Mr Arkcoll said.

“What these communities have experienced – though both prolonged drought and now bushfire – is unimaginable.

“And so, we want them to know that mates stand with mates – and whether it’s fire, drought or any other natural disaster, they’re not alone.

“We also want to thank those who made today possible – Rio Tinto for their generous donation of hay, and both the NSW Farmers Federation and the Bega Beef Board for ensuring help got to where it was needed most.

“As Christians, it is our nature to help our community – so we hope this hay can provide a little hope and go some way to bringing a small amount of relief.

“Our values of care and compassion are what motivate us, it gets our volunteers up early to help farmers collect their hay and to bring some hope and cheer to farmers on the NSW South Coast,” he said.

Member for Bega and Minister for Transport and Infrastructure, Andrew Constance MP, said it was important for Australians to continue to rally around each other as his electorate continues to endure the effects of both recent bushfires and longstanding drought.

“I want to thank the RRT for so generously giving to our farmers who have already endured so much.

“Operation Drought Relief brought the community together and represents another helping hand for local farmers and their families,” the Minister said.

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