Pollie praises truck driver for Hay Run initiative

By: Brad Gardner

Organisers of event to deliver hay to drought-stricken farmers have been lauded for their efforts.

The organisers behind an initiative to deliver hay bales to drought-stricken farmers in north-western New South Wales have been praised for their efforts.

NSW State MP Greg Aplin rose in Parliament to devote a speech to the people involved in the Burrumbuttock to Bourke Hay Run, including the truck driver who started it all, Brendan Farrell.

The Hay Run delivered 750 bales of hay and straw in February, and a second run to Bourke is scheduled for April.

"The Hay Run is a brilliant response to a natural disaster. At its centre is the fundamental moral decision to be a good neighbor to those in need. It is a message that remains potent today: Do not just sit there, do something positive," Aplin says.

"The hay delivery might only help a grazier keep going for a few more weeks, but what we are seeing is that the Hay Run was never just about hay. It is a visible sign that people – even people from far away – care."

Aplin says organisers intend to deliver another 1,500 bales next month. Trucks are due to meet in Cobar on April 4, with a convoy of 16 road trains coming across the Nullabor from Western Australia to join them.

"The aim this time is to deliver hay to around 130 farmers in the Bourke-Brewarrina area, with a second collection point at Lightning Ridge, where they will be available for a further 50 or 60 farms," Aplin says.

"The convoy will head into these towns on the Saturday [April 5], where drivers will be met by local farmers who have been slected by ballot to ensure the stockfeed makes it to those most in need."

Aplin says farmers and graziers in north-western NSW have gone for almost two years without decent rainfall.

The Hay Run has gathered widespread support, and Bourke Mayor Andrew Lewis says it has done a lot to lift the spirits of farmers in the region.

Aplin says the Hay Run has also inspired others to pitch in, including Albury local Ken Lacey, who has been placing fundraising buckets at rural supplies businesses to help farmers.

"Particular thanks must go to Brendan Farrell, Brad Schulz, Brett Lieschke and Sharon Knight, and to all the drivers, hay suppliers and transport operators who so generously donated hay, vehicles and fuel," Aplin says.

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