Burrumbuttock Hay Runners organiser Brendan Farrell has warned there’ll be no more hay runs for stricken farmers while the bank balance faces its own funding drought.
Mr Farrell this week revealed there was only $46,000 left in the kitty after the Australia Day hay run to outback Queensland.
In an impassioned post on Facebook, the straight-talking truckie said funding levels were in “dire straits”.
“I’ve just been on the phone to the Rotary Club of Sydney … we’re going to have to really ramp up the fundraising,” he said.
We need to knuckle down ... to try and make it a bit easier on farmers in the outback because it doesn’t want to rain by the look of it.Brendan Farrell
“There will be no more hay runs this year as there’s a lot of fundraising events I’ll have to go to, to try and get the money raised up again to keep trucks going on the road.”
Mr Farrell revealed the cost of the recent hay run to Cunnamulla was just over the $200,000 mark.
“(That’s) all up 150 trucks, trailers, tyres, windscreens – the whole kit and caboodle,” he said.
“We need to really try and get some money in the kitty.”
The brash truckie, who has bared his own buttocks to promote the hay runners’ cause, has also called for donations to complete a toilet project at Cunnamulla.
“We’re up to about $5500 with a target of $15,000 to get it started,” he said.
As anyone associated with the hay runs knows, convoys deliver much more than fodder for starving stock.
Special projects and add-on events also deliver a much-needed injection of hope to these often struggling remote towns.
Next weekend, for instance, Mr Farrell will head north to the tiny township of Muttaburra for a round of golf with a very appreciative committee.
He’ll officially open the town’s revamped golf shed, the result of a fundraising project that teed off after the Burrumbuttock Hay Runners trip there in 2017.
Meanwhile on that same weekend of March 3 and 4, “the two great guns of the hay runs” will be rolling out fundraising help at the other end of the country.
“Dan” and “Little Roscoe” will cart two trucks of donated hay to White Cliffs in NSW for an auction to raise money for a young girl “who is a bit crook in hospital”, according to Mr Farrell.
“That’s just how we roll and that’s how it will always be,” he said.
Mr Farrell reckons 2018 is “going to be a ripper”.
“We need to knuckle down and knuckle hard to try and make it a bit easier on farmers in the outback because it doesn’t want to rain by the look of it,” he said.
“Queensland’s going to miss their rain event.”
In the lead-up to the Cunnamulla trip, Mr Farrell said farmers were being forced to use mulga as fodder to help keep stock going in drought.
“It hasn’t rained and the cockies are pushing scrub all day in their dozers …”
He has since lambasted the Queensland government’s move to introduce laws to restrict the use of mulga as a feed source.
That’s why Mr Farrell is so bloody persistent about keeping the dream alive.
“Anyway, I’m only one man with a great team behind me,” he said.
“The funds in Rotary are at dire straits levels.
“If I’ve got to do a small hay run with the money left well I’ll just do a small one.”
Mr Farrell reminded his fellow Australians the hay runs were truly a labour of love – and a shining example of true-blue Aussie spirit.
“I don’t get a wage out of this; Belinda doesn’t get paid, Dan doesn’t get paid, no one gets paid,” he said.
“Remember you don’t have to be a registered charity to help someone.
“You just get off your arse and do it.”
Mr Farrell, dressed in his trademark cut-off shirt sleeves, put up his video post while doing “paying work” at north Bourke on February 20.
The next day the official Burrumbuttock Hay Runners page reminded followers donations could be made to the Rotary Club of Sydney, which handles all monetary donations on its behalf.
“We are not an organisation, just a bunch of blokes trying to help out a fellow Aussie in times of hardship,” it stated.
- To donate - BSB: 062 438; Account: 10211156; Description: Drought Appeal. Send cheques to: The Rotary Club of Sydney Drought Appeal; GPO Box 1523, Sydney NSW 2001.