While people and native wildlife left devastated by the bushfires are increasingly being cared for, livestock on farms haven’t necessarily been receiving the same attention.
CAPTION: Private Shaun Whitehurst and Cooma farmer George Walters load fodder onto Private Whitehurst’s truck for distrution to farmers on the New South Wales south coast. Photo and story by Sergeant Dave Morley.
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Local Cooma farmer George Walters has gone all out to fix this by forming South Coast Rural Relief, an organisation that aims to get fodder to farmers who need it most.
“The whole community has gotten behind the relief efforts, but to have the assistance of the Army has been a massive boost,” Mr Walters said.
“Some sheep, cattle and horses haven’t had anything for days.
“We are now reaching farms and properties that desperately need assistance.”
Private Shaun Whitehurst, an HX77 (protected) driver from Brisbane-based 7th Combat Service Support Battalion, took on a load of hay in Cooma on January 15.
He said people were doing it tough after the fires.
“I’m from off the land at Gin Gin, up past Bundaberg, so I know how tough farmers are doing it,” Private Whitehurst said.
“It’s a privilege to be able to get out and help – being here makes me proud to wear the uniform.”
A convoy of road trains loaded with hay is on its way from Western Australia, expected to arrive in Cooma on January 24.
Army vehicles will continue to assist in distributing this much-needed fodder to farms across the New South Wales south coast.
CH-47 Chinook helicopters from the Australian Army’s 5th Aviation Regiment have been helping to deliver hay for livestock at hard-to-reach properties on Kangaroo Island, South Australia.