Katamatite community help NSW farmers during drought

By Alana Christensen

Some Katamatite residents have put a smile on the face of drought-affected farmers in NSW, travelling more than 1500km to give $6500 to a small community of 2750 people.

The money, which was raised at Katamatite’s Big Day Out in a Little Town in September, was donated to Coonamble in northern NSW after the group of Katamatite Lions Club members spent hours researching where the help was needed most.

‘‘(The Lions’ Need for Feed Disaster Relief) said the town was the worst they’ve seen,’’ Katamatite Lions Club secretary Rob Peachey said.

‘‘They’re struggling a lot and rather than just giving to the farmers affected by the drought, we wanted to support local businesses as well because they are also struggling.’’

Club president Graham Lukies said the group was drawn to a Coonamble Shire Council initiative where ‘drought-buster dollars’ were donated by local charities and distributed to those who need a helping hand.

The dollars can only be spent in businesses in the shire, with the ‘win-win’ initiative ensuring local farmers get a helping hand and money keeps circulating through local businesses.

A collaboration between the council and local Country Women’s Association, Rotary and Lions club branches, the Katamatite group was glad to be able to support another community.

Katamatite Lions Club zone chair Julie Ballard said seeing the effect of the drought first hand was an ‘‘eye-opening’’ experience.

Yet, with summer creeping closer and dry conditions settling in across northern Victoria, the group was all too familiar with the situation affecting its own backyard.

‘‘We’re hearing more and more about the drought from people around town ... We’re expecting to be drought-declared in the next six months,’’ Mr Peachey said.

In an effort to lend a hand and raise spirits, the Lions club — with support from the cricket club and other local agencies — will hold a Community Christmas Party with a sausage sizzle and visit from Santa on Saturday, December 15. It will be held at Katamatite Recreation Reserve from 6pm.