Drought Relief – By Des Kelly
Australia, a wide, brown land, our “home away from home” to thousands of migrants and refugees from Sri Lanka, alone, is right now in big trouble caused by one of the biggest droughts in it’s history. This is common knowledge, made worse by the fact that there seems to be no end in sight, animals like sheep and cattle, bred for human consumption, are being wiped out at an alarming rate, the tinder-dry conditions becoming the biggest fire-hazard, for a very long time, threatening even more catastrophic situations in this wide brown land, we now call home.
The Government is in the process of providing relief that, unfortunately is too little & too late, but nonetheless welcome. Millions of additional dollars will now be required if there is to be any obvious easing of the plight of our Aussie farmers, out there, many of whom, have had to “close” their farm-gates permanently, a few, even going to the extreme, of taking their own lives, which is a sad indictment in what should be a happy, carefree Country.
Farmers, anywhere in the world, are truly the backbone of their Country. Without them, giving up the niceties of life, waking up at the dawn of each day, working long hours in order to run their farms so that we, City-folk, will not starve, are now in diabolical trouble and need our help.
It is a well-known fact that in Australia, the farming Communities are the most “down to earth” people (please pardon the pun). They usually go out of their way to help each other, are courteous to City dwellers who visit with them, employ thousands of part-time workers, fruit-pickers, and other farm-hands (refugees & migrants) who, for instance, cannot get jobs anywhere else. Most back-packers take full advantage of Australian farmers, in order to keep going.
I write this, on behalf of all our Lankan Aussies. I am very proud to now be an Australian Citizen, appreciative of the fact that, when “no longer required” in Ceylon, was accepted into Australia , together with my young family, have done my bit in adding to the Aussie population with an additional son & daughter, worked, practically non-stop for 45 years, have now retired, and now, live comfortably in my little retirement Unit in Melbourne. Many of you ex-Lankans have done the same, and I say this with pride, because it is a fact.
Australia is also proud of you, and this is why we should get together to help our Aussie farming friends as much as we possibly can. They would help you, if the boot was on the other foot. There are many ways in which we could help.
All we have to do is watch the news on television, presently, and many “avenues of aid” will be open to you.
We are the 12th largest ethnic Community living here, close to 87.000 in total. Just imagine that. Thousands of former Sri Lankans now resident in this wide brown land, and I call on all of you to pitch in and help your Aussie mates. Even at two dollars a head, this will mean one hundred & seventy four thousand dollars, enough to buy a few thousand bales of hay to feed Aussie cattle & sheep that are starving, even as I write this. I have no doubt that the rains will come, hopefully soon, and then these tough Aussie farmers & their families will be able to lift their heads and carry on, as before. For the moment, though, my main belief is that drought relief is badly needed.