Today Show broadcast from Dubbo raises millions for drought-stricken farmers

Dubbo woke up with the Today Show on Monday as they broadcast from the Dubbo showgrounds and kicked of their Farm Aid telethon. 

As part of their Fighting for our Farmers - Drought Relief Appeal the telethon raised a total of $7.5 million.

Channel 9 partnered with The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF), Rotary Australia, Optus and Westpac to host the national fundraising drive. The event saw residents enjoy a jumping castle, mechanical bull and performances from Shannon Noll and Jason Owen. 

Doctor Doctor star Rodger Corser called for a $20,000 donation and said he would ride the mechanical bull, to which phone company Alcatel donated $30,000.

Dubbo Regional Council donated $10,000 to the telethon.  

Today Show host Karl Stefanovic said it was fantastic to be back in Dubbo after nearly a year since broadcasting from Taronga Western Plains Zoo.  

“We’ve been covering this drought for some time, over the last month or so, we’ve got to go out and see places, to see it first hand, to see how hard it is on the land when you’re isolated, obviously there’s flow-on effects to towns, like Dubbo,” Mr Stefanovic said. 

“It's good to be here, it’s good to try and raise money for farmers, it’s great to see some smiles on faces.” 

Mr Stefanovic said proofing the farming industry was important for its future.  

“I think that’s the area where we need to see more improvement, the really good farmers are doing it, that level of expertise is required now moving forward, I think the government should be helping out to future-proof. 

“You can’t stop a drought, you can do all sorts of things to try and give yourself a bit more time, I hope that level of expertise comes into communities and farmers who don't have it, will be able to get the help.

“This could go for a long long time, we don’t know how long it’s going to go on for, we can’t forget.

“The media in the city took a long time to get on to this story, that’s our fault, that’s on us, now we know about it, our responsibility is to continue to raise awareness.

“It’s going to get tougher, the more awareness in the city, the more pressure there is on government to help out and try to get people through ‘till it rains. 

Between the broadcast and winning a camel-back egg-and-spoon race, Today host Georgie Gardner said there was nothing like country fair and it meant the world to her and colleagues to support farmers.

“It is the least we can do, to come out and see it for ourselves, hopefully raise spirits and get the rest of the country on board,” she said. 

Phone lines at 1800 732 165 and website donations at remain open and donations can be made at Westpac branches.