DELIVERY: Coffs Harbour got behind the drought relief fundraiser and two truckloads of stock feed were delivered. Hannah Heeney

The hardship experienced by farming communities over the Great Dividing Range certainly resonates with the Coffs Coast.

In a strong show of support for our state’s hard-pressed farming families, The Advocate has recently highlighted a host of community-driven drought relief appeals, which are delivering cash, stock feed and care packages to those families on the land who are doing it tough under this worsening drought.

Generations of farming families – holding strong holiday and investment ties to Coffs Harbour – have for decades geared their family businesses through drought, floods and hardship.

Yet every drought we are told is the worst on record and there can be no denying just how desperate the situation is to communities 200km to 500km west of Coffs Harbour.

The strong connection between the coast and the northwest and New England certainly is not lost on our community.

When these country communities struggle, there is a ripple effect on the coast.

Talking to retailers and accommodation providers, who track sales and bookings via postcodes, we’ve heard in 2018 there’s been a noted fall in customers shopping and staying in Coffs Harbour from cattle, sheep and crop-growing centres like Moree, Narrabri, Gunnedah, Tamworth, Walcha, Guyra, Glen Innes, Inverell and Armidale.

APPEAL: The Coffs Hotel and Stevo’s Towing staged a Bales for Bendemeer fundraiser. Pictured are Gary and Shaz Stevenson of Bonville with their daughter Peyton-lee and Gordon Mckenzie. Trevor Veale

These regional drive markets, particularly at winter and during school holiday times, are a key economic driver in coastal centres like Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie.

For years, Coffs Harbour has benefited from the tourism expenditures coming out of these regions, so it’s reassuring to see the two-way street of care and connection is giving a little back to the bush and helping to make a real life difference in tough times.

The support certainly won’t be forgotten in times of good harvests and strong markets, as farming families drive the Waterfall Way to Coffs Harbour for their family holidays.


Before then we will feel the impact of drought with food prices rising.

Sure the question is asked why do farmers, unlike other small business owners, get overwhelming assistance in times of need?

The simple answer is that we all rely on a strong agricultural sector at every meal. That’s why it’s important to give.

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