Support available to farming families affected by crop losses

The Assistant Minister for Health, Senator Fiona Nash, is urging farmers whose crops have been damaged by recent unseasonal frosts to use advisory and support services, including those funded by the Australian Government.

Page last updated: 04 November 2013

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4 November 2013

The Assistant Minister for Health, Senator Fiona Nash, today urged farmers whose crops have been damaged by recent unseasonal frosts to use advisory and support services, including those funded by the Australian Government.

“Variable weather patterns in southern NSW and northern Victoria have already destroyed some harvests, including cereal and grape crops, with more frosts expected over the coming days,” Minister Nash said.

“Unfortunately, crop losses will put many farming families under significant financial stress which can also impact on their mental and emotional wellbeing. I encourage farmers and their families to take advantage of the services that are in place to assist them.”

Farmers and small rural businesses experiencing financial hardship have free access to the Rural Financial Counselling Service on 1800 686 175. Counselling and support services funded by the Australian Government are also available for those suffering anxiety and emotional distress.

Mindhealthconnect website provides Australians with a trusted source of information and access to a range of online services,” Minister Nash said.

“Those who experience greater levels of stress, or longer term distress, should consult their GP to ensure they are referred to services that best meet their needs.”

The Government also funds the free virtual clinic, mindspot.org.au, to provide cognitive behavioural therapy to people with anxiety and depression.

“Australian farming families living and working across rural Australia provide the quality produce and fibre we enjoy every day, and keep our economy strong,” Minister Nash said.

“However, this commitment means they are further away from ‘bricks and mortar’ mental health and financial services, so it’s essential that they have easy access to online and telephone services when they need them.

“As a farmer I understand how tough it is for farming families and businesses that have been affected by these recent frosts. My thoughts are with them and I encourage the families and friends of our farmers to reach out and make contact during this difficult time to ensure they are doing okay,” she said.

Media contact: Nicky McMillan 0439 438 500

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