The boss of the rural development bank has spoken out about the impact of the drought on the industry.
Key points:Rural Development Bank boss Paul Gorman has said the drought is not the only impact on rural developmentRural development chief executive Paul Garnan said the bank was still trying to rebuild after the bank collapsed in the aftermath of the Great DepressionRural communities across Australia have been hit by the worst drought in more than two decadesRural community leaders have warned that the impacts of the severe drought are still being feltRural Australia is facing its worst drought since the Great Recession, with thousands of homes damaged or lost in the past fortnight.
Mr Gorman, the RDB chief executive, said the impact was being felt in every sector of the economy.
“We’re still trying our best to rebuild from the loss of our banking system,” he said.
“And we are also trying to repair the infrastructure that we have lost.”
But we also have to look at the long-term implications of that for the future.
“This is a very difficult time for our communities and for our families.”
He said there was no way to “live in a community in the worst possible conditions” but that the bank had the resources to help communities rebuild.
“In my opinion we’ve got the resources, we’ve done the best we can, and we’re doing it,” Mr Gorman said.
He said the lack of money had not prevented people from taking their own lives.
“It’s a very, very difficult thing to do,” he added.
“The impact is still felt in many ways, and I think we’re still struggling to understand what is the best course of action.”
Rural Communities and Rural Business Association president, Dr Lisa O’Donnell, said while many communities across the country had suffered from the effects of the past decade, the impact had not been seen in rural Australia.
“For rural Australia, we are in a period where our infrastructure is collapsing,” she said.
Rural businesses have struggled to find funds to maintain their businesses and the impact on community finances has been felt in rural communities.
“There are communities in Australia where we’ve seen the impacts from the drought and we are still dealing with that,” she added.
Ms O’Brien said she hoped the community leaders would take steps to rebuild in a similar fashion to those who had taken to the streets to protest against the Gondaland project.
“They are the first ones to really go out there, the first people to really put their money on the line,” she told ABC Radio.
“I think it’s a really good message for the community that they should really look at doing that, and it’s certainly a start.”