Providing drought relief to farmers and their families


Operation Drought Relief (ODR 2018)


As part of the Rapid Relief Team’s ongoing commitment to raising funds to support those in need in our community, we rolled out an initiative to assist the drought-stricken Australian farmers in NSW and Southern QLD throughout the 2nd half of 2018.

In August 2018, RRT launched the Operation Drought Relief initiative. RRT responded to one of Australia’s major environmental crises impacting farmers, their families and their livestock in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland.

This drought, compounded by a short supply of hay on the eastern seaboard of Australia and rising transport costs, is likely to change the farming landscape in Australia for decades to come.

Overnight, RRT acted with a major program valued at $3 million, focused on providing food and assistance to farmers and their families, and providing food for livestock. 131 farming families were provided with food vouchers of $100 per week for 13 weeks. Both IGA and FoodWorks agreed to support Operation Drought Relief with a rebate back to farming families.

In early August 2018, RRT arranged the first convoy of 10 road trains bringing hay from Western Australia to the worst affected rural areas of Western New South Wales. This comprised a total of 830 larges bales which is enough to feed 8,300 cows or 83,000 sheep for a week. The approximate cost of this convoy was $230,000.

The final statistics for the Operation Drought Relief initiative were;

  • Number of Hay Bales: 12,156 = 6,078 Tonne
  • Number of Trucks: Equivalent to 290 Semi-Trailers
  • Number of Delivery Points: 10 Locations
  • Number of Food Coupons: 131 at $1300 each = $170,300
  • Number of Volunteers: 50
  • Number of Man Hours: 1419

Operation Drought Relief gave RRT volunteers the opportunity to experience firsthand, the sheer determination of Australian farming families to beat the elements to keep their livestock alive. An experience that will never be forgotten.

September 2018 was the driest year on record for Australia since 1900. At this time New South Wales was in 76.6 percent drought, Victoria was declared 100 percent of farmland in drought and there was no available hay on the eastern seaboard.

Drought has a huge impact on the Australian economy, considering Australia is the second-largest wheat, canola and beef exporter in the world and the largest barley exporter.

We would like to convey how much we appreciate those that have joined with RRT to support Australian farmers and their families in their time of need. It is our donors who have made a real difference on the ground!


Operation Drought Relief (ODR 2019)

Other Charitable & Government Initiatives

Now that there is hay available again on Australia’s eastern seaboard, Rapid Relief Team have no hay drops planned for the near future. RRT have been reluctant to have to make this decision, but it is due to the diversity of what RRT offers to people in need in our communities.

RRT’s 4 main areas of focus are; Homeless, Health & Disability, Youth and the Emergency Services.

There are other initiatives available to drought-stricken farming families. If you require further assistance, we recommend you visit the FarmHub website https://farmhub.org.au/ which lists a number of Government initiatives to support farmers and their families.