Hi everyone. Our offices are open again after a short break.
As we survey local conditions throughout north west and south west Victoria, we note that there’s a diversity of acute and complex adversity faced by our region’s farmers, small business owners, families and communities – however good news to be found too.
The Poolaijelo community (West Wimmera Shire) is assessing damage and moving into recovery after a fast-moving grass fire on New Year’s Eve devastated farms, livestock and feed as well as timber plantations, bushland and infrastructure. By all reports, incredible work from the CFA, including volunteers who lost farms of their own. Ag Vic and Blaze Aid are already assisting with recovery and of course our locally-based rural financial counsellors are here to support farmers and small business owners in an ongoing capacity.
Across the region, the covid rollercoaster has continued with testing requirements lifted for the SA border and popular destinations booked out however with rapid covid spread in the regions and staff shortages exacerbated by delays in accessing rapid antigen tests and PCR screening. Hospitality businesses in particular are working so hard to ensure we are well fed and watered in the school holidays. We see you, and we are here for all the reminders to be kind to cafe staff, and everyone working in public facing roles.
Our rural and small business financial counsellors, and well-being counsellors, can still visit you on farm or at your business premises where it is safe to do so, and are available by phone, video call, email and text. Some of our team may be isolating at times however are backed up by their regional teams.