Assistance comes at a cost: fundraiser for Godfreys Creek farmer

Simon Bowden on his property at Godfreys Creek.
Simon Bowden on his property at Godfreys Creek.

With farmers across the region struggling enough due to the drought, one man's family decided to step in and try and help save the property.

The family of Simon Bowden decided to start a GoFundMe campaign in order to raise much needed money to feed his sheep as Mr Bowden is ineligible for a drought assistance package.

Mr Bowden approached St Vincents de Paul and the Salvation Army however was knocked back for a package due to his wife's employment and income.

"Because my partner earns more than what the farm makes, we're not eligible," he said.

"We had to provide a minimum of $3000 in invoices which is a bit odd because I try not to be in a debt situation. Why do you have to prove you have debt? It's a drought, that doesn't make sense to me."

Mr Bowden also tried applying for a once off payment to buy sheep feed and get a load of water delivered, however he was rejected and instead was looking at a loan from the government.

"My whole idea is to be debt free," he said.

"There's a lot of people in the same boat which is why I wanted to... bring light to the fact that the government has offered this drought assistance and they've made it difficult and I think they need to be held a bit accountable for that."

Mr Bowden said he only found out about his daughter's fundraiser after conducting a TV interview.

He said he had "mixed feelings" about the campaign but was grateful for the help.

"I don't like asking for help and you felt like a bit of a failure because people have to step in," he said.

"She feels compelled to do something all the time... She's a very thoughtful kid."

He said he would like to see the process for applying for drought assistance streamlined and made easier for fellow farmers.

"I think they should make it a bit easier for people to apply for and deal with it," he said.

"Every situation can be different. Maybe appoint a case manager for each district.

"I'm not looking for handouts but money is tight, they've offered this assistance, they've offered this help, so how about we streamline it a bit?"