Brutal bureaucracies are savaging the nation’s farmers as effectively as the country’s crippling drought, claims Burrumbuttock Hay Runners founder Brendan Farrell.
The man recently awarded a Queen’s Birthday honour has been left shattered by the suicide of a farmer friend this week.
In a heart-wrenching Facebook video on Wednesday, the hay hero said news of the man’s death was a “real kick in the guts”.
Mr Farrell added the pressure of drought “is absolutely horrendous” and took aim at government apathy and callous corporations for exacerbating the mental and physical strain on the nation’s primary producers.
“I’d been looking after this farmer for a while,” he said.
“I thought I was winning the battle with this fella but depression is a very dark place – I’ve been there.
Every award in Australia can not bring a life back.Brendan Farrell
“The problem is I can’t see a farmer ringing some random person in an office to spill out all their problems … I just don’t know which way you go with this.”
He’d hand back his award to have this bloke back.
“Every award in Australia can not bring a life back,” he said.
Mr Farrell, who was in Longreach on Thursday, said farmers were walking off the land and small towns were dying as surely as the stock on drought-ravaged paddocks.
The man who breathes and sleeps drought said local MPs and governments “should be doing a hell of a lot more than they are”.
And his comments on the Rabobank manager who told a farmer he would “commit suicide” if he was in her place could not be repeated in this family newspaper.
Mr Farrell has pleaded with farming families to hang in there as long as they can.
He said people were the answer to helping people – it’s the only thing he can be sure of.
He urged any person contemplating the worst to just stop and think of the repercussions for family, friends, children.
“Think of a special moment, for Christ’s sake,” he begged.
“Just keep getting up out of bed, put your shoes on and your hat on, because the sun keeps rising every day.”
If you need help, call Lifeline 13 11 14.