ASSISTANCE & GRANTS

We can assist with Grants, Income Support, Farm Debt, Health & Safety and much more.

2018 Drought Assistance in NSW produced by the NSW State Government is a very useful reference guide.

Department of Primary Industries

CURRENT GRANTS DEPT. OF AGRICULTURE

The Australian Government is lending practical support to drought affected farmers and rural communities through free personal and financial counselling.

Department of Agriculture

NSW DEPARTMENT OF PRIMARY INDUSTRIES

NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) acts in partnership with industry and other public sector organisations to foster profitable and sustainable development of primary industries in New South Wales.

NSW DPI has a staff of approximately 2,700 across the state. DPI manages a broad range of initiatives from resource to industry, including natural resource management, research and development, pest and disease management, food safety, industry engagement, and market access and competition.

DPI Agriculture is responsible for increasing the productivity and resilience of the agricultural sector. It does this through agricultural productivity research across livestock, plants and natural resource management areas, as well as providing education and training through Tocal College. It also delivers rural support and community development services through the NSW Rural Assistance Authority, and provides scientific advice, quality assurance and management of research facilities that underpin the research programs of the Department.

DPI Fisheries supports economic growth and sustainable access to aquatic resources through commercial and recreational fisheries management, research, aquaculture development, habitat protection and rehabilitation, regulation and compliance. The division mitigates and manages risks from use of land and water, including from sharks and hunting through the Game Licensing Unit.

Department of Primary Industries

DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES

The Department of Human Services delivers a range of Commonwealth services to the Australian community, including the rural community.

DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES

NSW RURAL ASSISTANCE AUTHORITY

The NSW Rural Assistance Authority (RAA) administers a wide range of assistance measures to the Rural Sector. These assistance measures are both Commonwealth and State funded. Whilst the Rural Sector is its core client, the Authority is also responsible for small businesses that have suffered loss or damage due to natural disaster.

RURAL ASSISTANCE AUTHORITY

NSW GOVERNMENT DROUGHT ASSISTANCE & INFORMATION

DroughtHub provides a one-stop online destination for information on a vast range of services and support available to primary producers, their families and communities to prepare for and manage drought conditions.

The NSW Government is committed to working closely with farmers, industry and stakeholders and has delivered a $300 million drought package to ensure NSW is better prepared for future drought conditions.

DPI makes every attempt to ensure the information supplied is current, however the individual circumstances of DroughtHub users should be taken into account when considering the linked services.

DROUGHT HUB

LOCAL LAND SERVICES

At Local Land Services, we believe that partnerships are essential to our success. We are here to work together with you and tailor the right solutions to grow a sustainable business.

We can assist with:

  • advice on using the new codes of practice and other tools
  • support to access incentives for conserving native plants and animals on your property
  • timely assistance with approvals if required
  • workshops, field days and farm visits to help you understand the new land management framework.
LOCAL LAND SERVICES

Farm Household Allowance (FHA) – The FHA provides up to three years of household income support to eligible farmers and farming families and includes a Health Care Card, up to $1500 for professional financial advice and up to $3000 for professional support, advice or training if the information remains current.”

Human Services Minister Senator Marise Payne said she strongly encouraged farming families not to delay in lodging their application for FHA. Claims for the FHA can be submitted online at the Department of Human Services website or downloaded from the website.

The Department of Human Services has a Farmer Assistance Hotline operating from 8am to 8pm, Monday to Friday on 132 316.

CURRENT GRANTS DEPT. OF AGRICULTURE

The Australian Government is lending practical support to drought affected farmers and rural communities through free personal and financial counselling.

Department of Agriculture

NSW DEPARTMENT OF PRIMARY INDUSTRIES

NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) acts in partnership with industry and other public sector organisations to foster profitable and sustainable development of primary industries in New South Wales.

NSW DPI has a staff of approximately 2,700 across the state. DPI manages a broad range of initiatives from resource to industry, including natural resource management, research and development, pest and disease management, food safety, industry engagement, and market access and competition.

DPI Agriculture is responsible for increasing the productivity and resilience of the agricultural sector. It does this through agricultural productivity research across livestock, plants and natural resource management areas, as well as providing education and training through Tocal College. It also delivers rural support and community development services through the NSW Rural Assistance Authority, and provides scientific advice, quality assurance and management of research facilities that underpin the research programs of the Department.

DPI Fisheries supports economic growth and sustainable access to aquatic resources through commercial and recreational fisheries management, research, aquaculture development, habitat protection and rehabilitation, regulation and compliance. The division mitigates and manages risks from use of land and water, including from sharks and hunting through the Game Licensing Unit.

Department of Primary Industries

DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES

The Department of Human Services delivers a range of Commonwealth services to the Australian community, including the rural community.

DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES

NSW RURAL ASSISTANCE AUTHORITY

The NSW Rural Assistance Authority (RAA) administers a wide range of assistance measures to the Rural Sector. These assistance measures are both Commonwealth and State funded. Whilst the Rural Sector is its core client, the Authority is also responsible for small businesses that have suffered loss or damage due to natural disaster.

RURAL ASSISTANCE AUTHORITY

NSW GOVERNMENT DROUGHT ASSISTANCE & INFORMATION

DroughtHub provides a one-stop online destination for information on a vast range of services and support available to primary producers, their families and communities to prepare for and manage drought conditions.

The NSW Government is committed to working closely with farmers, industry and stakeholders and has delivered a $300 million drought package to ensure NSW is better prepared for future drought conditions.

DPI makes every attempt to ensure the information supplied is current, however the individual circumstances of DroughtHub users should be taken into account when considering the linked services.

DROUGHT HUB

A package to assist primary producers identify and address risks to their farming enterprise, improve permanent farm infrastructure and ensure long-term productivity and sustainable land use, aiding in meeting changes to seasonal conditions.

The availability of loans is subject to funds being available. No loans will be offered beyond the allocated funding. Applicants should contact the Authority prior to lodging an application.

Rural Assistance Authority

Find out all you need to know about farm debt mediation in NSW with RAA’ s four new educational videos:

Introducing NSW Farm Debt Mediation:

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Preparing for NSW Farm Debt Mediation:

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Participating in NSW Farm Debt Mediation:

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Mediating well – NSW Farm Debt Mediation:

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WORK RELATED INJURIES AND FATALITIES ON AUSTRALIAN FARMS

From a health and safety point of view, farms are unique. While other industries share some of the hazards of farming such as plant, chemicals, noise, dust, sun exposure and working with animals, the combination of hazards found in farming as well as the context in which farm work is done, make farming one of the most dangerous industries in which to work.

Agriculture has the highest proportion of self-employed workers of any industry. Self-employed farmers face the demands and stress of running a business as well as undertaking the hard physical labour involved in farm work.

This report draws together a profile of Australian farmers and documents important trends in fatalities and injuries that occur on Australian farms. At the end of this report are potential avenues for improving the work health and safety of Australian farmers and farm workers in the context of the Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy 2012–2022.

WORKSAFE AUSTRLIA

QUAD BIKES ON FARMS SAFETY GUIDE

WorkSafe Victoria publishes an excellent Quad Bike farm safety guide.

The guide targets the safety of All Terrain Vehicles which are responsible for around 10 deaths each year around Australia.

The guide, developed by the Victorian Farm Safety Centre at Ballarat University and farm sector groups provides case studies of ATV crashes and tips to maximise safety of the machines.

Here is a summary of the guide:
ATV safety tips:

  • If you’re looking to make a purchase, look at the options for the different sorts of ATVs and other farm utility vehicles that are now on the market.
  • Choose something that suits your particular needs.
  • The guide encourages all users to wear a helmet, follow the makers’ operating and maintenance instructions and not carry passengers, especially children.
  • Above-all treat your ATV with respect, understand the terrain you’re on and most importantly, your own limitations, particularly if you’re getting older.
DOWNLOAD PDF

FARM WORKSHOP SAFETY

Serious injury and death from electrocution, crush injury, fire and explosion is occurring in farm workshops. Twenty percent (20%) of farm injury presenting to hospital Emergency Departments is caused by farm maintenance work. More than 30% of these are eye and hand injuries. Whilst these injuries are generally not life threatening, they result in significant downtime, workers compensation claims and reduced farm productivity. Download the checklist below for more information.

DOWNLOAD CHECKLIST

PUTTING FARM SAFETY INTO PRACTICE

Regular reviews involve:

  • being on the lookout for new hazards which can occur from changes in work practices or with new equipment;
  • consulting with people who work on the farm including contractors;
  • investigating near misses;
  • checking that control measures work;
  • checking health safety action plans;
  • going through an inspection checklist regularly; and
  • monitoring the health of workers.

South Australian dairy farmers Jodie and Michael Connor recently updated a number of safety procedures for their business.

The Connors provide all staff with motorbike helmets, but are now working to ensure they are worn.

Staff are also required to carry sun hats to wear when working off the bike.

“People find the helmets hot and uncomfortable, especially when doing jobs which involve them getting on and off the bike regularly. But now we are making sure our staff get in the routine of always wearing a helmet on the bike and the hat when working off the bike.”

To check your dairy business meets farm safety requirements, visit The People in Dairy website and go to the Farm Policies and Systems section in the Live Library.

VISIT WEBSITE

PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT

What is Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)?

PPE is clothing or equipment designed to control risks to health and safety in the workplace.

PPE is the least satisfactory solution to health and safety problems in the workplace, as it does not address the hazard – it only provides a shield to protect the worker.

PPE should therefore be used in addition to other control measures that provide workers with a higher level of safety, rather than replacing those measures.

It includes:

  • eye protection (goggles, safety glasses
  • hearing protection (ear plugs, ear muffs)
  • breathing protection (respirators, face masks, cartridge filters)
  • foot protection (safety boots)
  • head protection (hard hats, helmets, sun hats)
  • body protection (high-visibility garments, thermal wear, overalls, aprons, safety harnesses)
  • substances used to protect health (sun screen)
  • outer wear (reflective vests, fluoro jackets).
WORK SAFE AUSTRALIA

ALCOHOL AND OTHER DRUGS IN THE WORKPLACE

Alcohol and other drug related problems can occur in any workplace.

The abuse of alcohol and other drugs may damage physical and mental health. Being under the influence of alcohol or drugs can increase the chance of injury to yourself or others in the workplace.

Many factors have been put forward as possibly contributing to the misuse of alcohol and other drugs including:

  • grief
  • harassment, bullying or victimisation
  • family and relationship problems
  • long and/or irregular working hours
  • interpersonal conflict
  • tight deadlines and unrealistic performance targets
  • health concerns
  • high risk of personal injury or illness at work
  • gambling
  • discrimination or prejudice
  • financial problems
  • corporate entertaining
  • loss of control and lack of participation in any decision making process
  • poor job design or hazardous work processes
  • history of substance abuse.

For further information on establishing a workplace alcohol and other drugs policy, download the Work Cover Guide below or call 13 10 50.

DOWNLOAD GUIDE

MAKING FARM MACHINERY SAFER – LESSONS FROM INJURED FARMERS

This is a free publication produced by the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation.

This report focuses on farm machinery injury. The work reported here identifies individual and machine characteristics that are associated with an increased risk of a serious farm work related injury. A comprehensive analysis of a series of farm machinery events is reported, and through the application of a human factors and systems approach, recommendations are made in relation to improving machinery design to reduce the potential for injury events to occur, and to reduce the severity of resulting injury when such events do occur.

This report is expected to be of interest to the agricultural industry, farm machinery manufacturers and dealers, occupational health and safety authorities, and those involved in farm safety programs.

Download the report from the RIRDC below.

DOWNLOAD REPORT

HEAT STRESS IN OUTDOOR WORKERS

Purpose
This safety alert highlights the hazard of heat stress for outdoor workers during summer following the death of a German backpacker working on a farm in the Wide Bay area.

Background
Heat stress occurs when heat is absorbed from the environment faster than the body can get rid of it. Several factors may contribute to heat stress, such as the type of work activity, the surrounding air temperature/humidity level, and the physical condition of the individual (he/she may be new to the job or new to Queensland).

Our bodies maintain a fairly constant internal temperature even though they may be exposed to varying environmental temperatures.

To keep internal body temperatures within safe limits in hot conditions, the body has to get rid of excess heat – and it does this by evaporating sweat and varying the blood flow to the skin. These responses are controlled by the brain and usually occur when the blood exceeds 37 degrees centigrade.

Landholders must ensure that they provide sufficient information and care for their workers (including casual backpackers).

Types of heat related illnesses
Heat cramps are painful muscle cramps that can occur on their own or with other heatrelated illness such as heat exhaustion. Lay the person in the shade, remove outer clothing,provide cool water and fan vigorously to increase evaporation.

Heat exhaustion is a serious condition that can develop into heat stroke. It is sometimes suffered by people new to Queensland’s hot climate. A person with heat exhaustion may complain of weakness, nausea and/or “giddiness”. The person may look pale and be breathless. The skin is usually wet from sweating.

Lay the person in the shade, remove outer clothing, provide cool water and fan vigorously to increase evaporation.

Heat stroke is a medical emergency, caused by a rise in core body temperature. A person suffering heat stroke becomes confused, and may stagger or collapse. The skin may be either dry or wet.

Call an ambulance and apply urgent first aid. Remove outer clothing, wet the skin and fan vigorously to increase evaporation.

Prickly heat is an intense, itchy red skin rash. It is caused by a blockage of the sweat ducts from prolonged wetting of the skin. Treat by keeping the skin cool and dry,wearing suitable clothing and avoiding hot work.

Heat fainting occurs when blood vessels (particularly in the legs) dilate in order to increase heat transfer to the skin and cause reduced return blood flow to the heart. This response temporarily reduces blood flow to the brain, which can cause a person to faint.

If a person faints, lay him/her in the shade,remove outer clothing, provide cool water and fan vigorously to increase evaporation.

Factors that may contribute to heat stress:

  • inadequate cooling off or rest periods
  • insufficient water consumption
  • climatic conditions (such as low airmovement, high humidity levels and high
    air temperature)
  • inappropriate clothing
  • individual factors that may cause dehydration (such as poor diet, vomiting,
  • diarrhoea or alcohol and caffeine consumption)
  • individual medical conditions that may cause heat stress (such as heart problems, diabetes or hypertension)
  • individual medication that may affect the body’s temperature regulation
  • an individual’s age, general physical fitness and weight.

Environmental factors
Environment and seasonal factors that can also contribute to heat problems:

  • high air temperatures
  • radiant heat from hot objects such as machinery or the bare earth itself
  • radiant heat from working outdoors in the sun
  • higher relative humidity levels
  • low air movement.

Hazards
Outdoor workers undertaking tasks in the sun for a long period of time without adequate breaks, shade or water can face serious dehydration and risk of a heat-related illness and death.

This can be exacerbated when the outdoor worker spends lengthy time in the sun, has not drunk enough water, has used drugs or consumed alcohol in recent times or has not eaten an adequate breakfast.

Recommended prevention measures
It is recommended that outdoor workers:

  • use sun protection – hat, sunscreen and light sun-protective clothing
  • drink at least one litre of cool water an hour when working in the sun
  • take breaks during the day in cool shaded areas to enable a rapid return of core temperature to normal
  • acclimatise to outdoor work gradually
  • have eaten during the day to ensure their energy and salt levels are maintained.
  • avoid alcohol, caffeine and drugs which can increase urine output and therefore fluid loss.

Engineering controls
Various engineering controls are effective for reducing the risk of heat stress in workplaces.

Examples include:

  • creating some shade structure (tarp, umbrella) or at least find a tree for outdoor workers’ rest breaks
  • automating or mechanising tasks that require heavy or physical activity
  • reducing radiant heat emissions from hot surfaces and plant e.g. by insulation and shielding.

Legislative requirements
It is the responsibility of employers to ensure they provide a safe and healthy work environment: this means workers have adequate access to amenities such as: toilets, water and shaded areas to take rest breaks.

For more information
Visit the Workplace Health and Safety Queensland below or call the WHS Infoline on 1300 369 915.

Reproduced with permission from Workplace Health and Safety Queensland, Department of Employment and Industrial Relations
SAFETY ALERT – Heat stress in outdoor workers
PN10380 Version 1 Last updated 4 January 2010.

VISIT WEBSITE

15 MINUTE FARM SAFETY CHECKLIST

This easy to follow document has been developed by WorkCover NST to help you quickly check your farm for hazards and risks. It is not designed to cover all of the hazards and risks on the farm but to help you identify and control those hazards and risks that may cause an injury or death to yourself, your family, friends or employees.

The checklist covers hazards found in typical rural workplace situations. It is not designed to cover all of the risks on a farm but to help you to get started on the process of identifying the hazards around you. You should involve your employees by filling out the checklist below.

DOWNLOAD SAFETY CHECKLIST

BLOOD PRESSURE

Hypertension which is the biggest single contributor to poor health in Australia is more common in rural communities and treatment is less successful than in the city.

A report on the ABC health website says hypertension is a silent condition as people with high blood pressure often don’t feel unwell.

The report refers to a study at Charles Sturt University which put the rate of hypertension in one rural community at 58 per cent of 50 to 75-year-olds based on a study in the journal Clinical and Experimental Hypertension.

The researchers studied a group of 674 people from in and around Albury. Thirty-seven per cent had been diagnosed with hypertension in the past and 21 per cent were found to have undiagnosed hypertension.

According to the report the high prevalence of hypertension, at 58 per cent, is considerably higher than the average for Australian adults, which other studies have put at 28 to 42 per cent, but which is probably closer to around 30 per cent, the researchers say.

Of the Albury participants who were known to have hypertension, only about 43 per cent were actually being treated with blood pressure lowering medication. And of these, fewer than half had a normal blood pressure – defined as 140 mm Hg (systolic) and 80 mm Hg (diastolic) or lower. In other words, less than half were getting optimal treatment.

The report found the reason hypertension is higher in country people could be due to higher levels of stress in rural communities from drought and economic hardship. They also suggested that country people, especially men, are less likely to want to see a doctor when they fall ill, and are less likely to keep the treatment going.

The following information is produced with permission from www.yourhealth.net.au

Lifestyle changes to reduce BP

The Heart Foundation recommends you:

  • Lose weight, if necessary. Blood pressure reduces by an average of 2 points for each kilogram lost.
  • Get regular exercise, at least 30 minutes of moderate activity on most days.
  • Reduce alcohol. Set a limit of 2 standard drinks per day or less.
  • Reduce salt. Use salt-reduced processed foods and cut down on added salt.
  • Stop smoking. Smokers with raised BP have 3-4 times the risk of heart attack and stroke compared to non-smokers.
  • Eat a healthy, low fat, well balanced diet.
  • Blood pressure medication

If you cannot reach your target with these changes, your doctor may advise medication. Although you will start with a small dose of one medicine, most patients require a combination of 2 or 3 different drugs later on.

Most people on treatment experience no side effects and lead normal lives. Side effects are often temporary. However, if they do persist, inform your doctor so that an alternative drug can be tried.

Tablets for hypertension will usually need to be taken for life, as medication only controls the pressure and does not cure it. Try to keep up with the lifestyle changes to minimise the amount of medication needed.

Never stop your tablets without checking with your doctor and have regular BP checks.

Speak to your doctor for more information, or ring Heartline on 1300 362 787, or visit The Heart Foundation Website.

VISIT THE HEART FOUNDATION

SAFE USE OF SILOS, FIELD BINS & CHASER BINS

Safe Use of Bulk Solid Containers and Flatbed Storage including Silos, Field Bins and Chaser Bins.

Download the WorkCover Code of Practice PDF below:

CODE OF PRACTICE

Download WorkCover Design of Vertical Ladders on Silos below:

DOWNLOAD PDF

SUN SAFETY

Australia has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world (2 out of 3 people who were born in Australia will get some form of skin cancer) and outdoor workers, such as farm workers are at the greatest risk of developing skin cancer. The solar radiation hazard results from the effect of ultraviolet radiation which is measured in nanometers (nm). The ultraviolet radiation range consists of:

  • UV-A 320-400 nm damages skin
  • UV-B 290-320 nm the main cause of skin cancer
  • UV-C 200-290 nm the ozone layer acts as a barrier to this level of radiation.

The effect on the skin of these rays from the sun builds up over time. The signs of a mild level of damage such as mild sunburn or freckling gradually increase with exposure and can eventually lead to a skin cancer. Ultra violet rays are most damaging between 10 am and 2 pm (11 am and 3 pm during daylight saving) because the angle of the sun’s rays is shortest at those times. During winter, the infra-red rays are reduced, producing cooler temperatures but UV rays continue to damage the skin. Natural barriers to these rays are the ozone layer and cloud cover. However, skin damage still occurs with cloud cover, depending on cloud thickness. In Australia, the diminishing ozone layer is increasing the risk of skin cancer from solar radiation.

NOISE INJURY AND HEARING SAFETY

Noise injury prevention on farms

Summary factsheets for farmers based on research conducted by the Australian Centre for Agricultural Health and Safety is provided below under Related Documents.

Research reports on farm noise injury are available at www.aghealth.org.au. This research also informed Farmsafe Australia’s Noise Injury Prevention Strategy for the Australian Farming Community, developed to address the hearing health needs of farmers.

The Australian Centre for Agricultural Health and Safety recently undertook a the Better Hearing for Farming Families Project in three NSW communities, using the framework provided by the Noise Injury Prevention Strategy. A report on this Project will be available shortly, to assist other communities implement similar noise injury prevention projects in their area.

Hearing screening and services

Q. Have you had your hearing screened? A free and nationally available telephone hearing screening service is available through Telscreen, an Australian Hearing initiative. Phone 1800 826 500 (Freecall).

Q. Are having trouble hearing on the phone? The National Relay Service may be able to help. This is a free telephone relay service for people who are hearing impaired. Go to www.relayservice.com.au for details.

For further information on hearing services in your area, contact your local Community Health Centre or Google Hearing Services in your local area.

VISIT WEBSITE

FARMERS WITH DISABILITIES

AgrAbility Australia membership is open to farmers with a disability or illness as well as their carers and family. A directory containing the contact details of members as well as the modifications they have made which has enabled them to return to work is updated at regular intervals as new members join.

Since January 2008 over 60 members with disabilities ranging from arthritis, diabetes and Parkinson disease to back pain, brain injuries, amputations and spinal cord injuries have joined the network.

See some of the modifications the members have made which allow them to keep working on the farm.

Hand Operated John Deere Gator – lower limb disability
Transportable Hydraulic Hoist – access tractors, headers etc.
Modified Ferris Zero Turn Mower
Overhead Winch – tractor access
Hand gearchange for ATV
Wheelchair transfer to farm vehicle
Additional seat for easy quad transfer
Tractor access – hand winch system
Easy use irrigation system

For Member Information sheets on the above and more information visit the AgHealth website below.

AGHEALTH WEBSITE

CHILD SAFETY ON FARMS

Child farm injury

Approximately 20 children under 16 years are fatally injured on an Australian farm every year and many more are hospitalized or treated by General Practitioners across rural Australia.

The major causes of child deaths and injuries on farms are dams, farm vehicles, machinery, motorcycles and horses. Age and development characteristics also place children at greater risk.

A recent study by the National Farm Injury Data Centre (NFIDC) based at AgHealth of on-farm fatalities for the 2001-2004 period found that:

  • Children (0-14yrs) make up 15-20% of farm injury deaths, around 2/3 are male. Main agents are:
  • Drowning in dams (mostly under five year olds)
  • ATVs (“All terrain vehicles” or 4 wheeled motorbikes)
  • Farm vehicles (cars, utes)
  • Around quarter of all child deaths were visitors to the farm, but for ATVs around ½ are visitors
  • Drowning accounts for around 35-40% on child farm deaths, with farm dams being by far the most common site.

There has been an improvement in the reduction of toddler drowning on farms in recent years – particularly a reduction of dam drownings, which have halved since the early nineties. However, drowning is still the number one cause of child farm fatality in Australia. A common scenario is that a toddler wanders away from the home un-noticed into farm water bodies or toward other farm hazards (vehicles, mobile machinery). Apart from dams, children can find their way into creeks, troughs, dips and channels. Children under five years are at greatest risk.

For non-fatal injury of children on farms, older children (5 -15 yrs) figure more prominently – particularly in relation to injury from 2 and 4 wheeled motorbikes (and horses). Whilst there tend to be more hospital ED presentations for 2 wheeled motorbikes, injuries from 4 wheelers (ATV’s) are likely to be more severe or fatal, with 4 times as many children being killed off ATV’s than 2 wheel motorbikes on farms (NFIDC 2007).

Priorities for Child safety on farms:

Priorities for child safety on farms developed by AgHealth and Farmsafe Australia, based on research of effective solutions (see report) are for farm families to:

  1. Have a securely fenced house yard (safe play area) for children to play, unless an adult can closely supervise them on the farm; and ensure children:
  2. Always wear seatbelts and restraints when in cars, utes and trucks
  3. Don’t ride on tractors, ATV’s or in the back of utes
  4. Always wear helmets when riding bikes and horses

Whilst these are short-list priorities, families still need to identify and address other hazards and risks specific to their farm. Controlling these risks should commence with reducing hazards and designing for safety where possible. See below for further information.

Resources: The following publications developed by AgHealth relate to key child injury risks on farm and best practice safety recommendations.

  • Child Safety on Farms Checklist
  • Safe Play Areas on Farm (pamphlet)
  • Safe Play Areas on Farms: A Resource Booklet
  • Get Going. Moving Kids Safely on Farms (booklet)
  • Childcare options for farming families (factsheet)
  • Child Safety on Farms Guideline (booklet)
  • CSOF powerpoint presentation
  • Case studies on child safety from farms

A number of promotional items are also available on request, from AgHealth, such as the Horseplay poster, CSOF blue poster, CSOF summary leaflet and CSOF Fridge magnet . Research Reports relating to child safety can be found on the NFIDC reports page.

More about Safe Play Areas

With drowning being the number one risk for toddlers on farms, having a secure house yard or “safe play area” with child-resistant gates and latches, is especially important. The idea is to provide an access barrier between toddlers and farm hazards – much like a pool fence does, but in reverse. Whilst it is good to aim toward pool standard fencing (AS 1926.1 – 2007) this may not always be possible.

The principle is to make it difficult for young children to leave the house yard without an accompanying adult. All family members and visitors need to be alert to keep the area secure as well (eg. ensure gates are kept closed). Fences themselves need to be resistant to a child climbing through or over them (eg. solid or vertical rail, no footholes, 1.2 -1.5 m high, low ground clearance).

Having an interesting yard with play items such as sandpits and open-areas for ball play, can help as well. The Safe Play Area Resource (see link above), provides good ideas for keeping kids safe, active and engaged from a child development point of view. A Safe Play Area DVD is also available, from Farmsafe WA, based on a safe play demonstration site at Kojonup.

No supervision is perfect and there is no perfectly secure house yard fence. However, a combination of safe play areas with close and active supervision will help reduce the risk of toddler drownings and other farm injury to young children on farms and rural properties.

For further information contact:
Kerri-Lynn Peachey
Phone: 02 6752 8210
Email: kerrilynn.peachey@sydney.edu.au

This report is reproduced with permission from Ag Health Australia.

It is an exciting time for national health reform implementation as many new initiatives start to become operational. Legislation to enable the establishmentof new national bodies to drive improved standards and performance across the health system is now before Parliament; and Australia’s first Medicare Locals have commenced work.

Significantly, a new agreement on national health reform was agreed by all governments on 2 August. The National Health Reform Agreement cements the commitment made by all governments at the 13 February Council of Australian Governments’ meeting, to work together to reform the health system to ensure its future sustainability. Under the agreement, the Commonwealth, states and territories have agreed to major reforms to the organisation, funding and delivery of health and aged care.

To assist stakeholders and the public in understanding details of the agreement, the Department of Health and Ageing has been conducting a series of national health reform briefings around the country. The briefings have been well attended and question and answer sessions from these engagements will soon be published on the yourHealth website.

On 7 September, the Minister for Health and Ageing, the Hon Nicola Roxon MP, released an implementation plan outlining the major milestones and timelines for implementing national health reform.

NATIONAL HEART FOUNDATION WALKING GROUPS

Being physically active is an important part of leading a healthy lifestyle.

The Heart Foundation and other leading authorities recommend at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on all or most days of the week. This can be accumulated in bouts of ten minutes or more if this is more convenient.

At any age physical activity provides a range of health benefits. And the good news is activity doesn’t have to be vigorous – moderate activity, such as brisk walking, is great for your health!

The Heart Foundation has open and private walking groups throughout Australia.

Heart Foundation Walking is Australia’s largest network of free community-based walking groups, led by volunteer Walk Organisers. Heart Foundation Walking makes being active easy, even for those not used to being active.

Joining or starting a Heart Foundation Walking group in your area or workplace is a great way to get active and meet people. Every walking group is different – they vary in the number of members, and levels of difficulty and meet at a variety of times and days of the week. Everyone is encouraged to walk at their own pace.

Walking is an easy way to keep active, but walking in a group has extra benefits. It’s a great way to meet new friends and keep motivated. Knowing there are people waiting for you can provide the extra motivation to get out the door.

To encourage you and your group to walk regularly, you will receive rewards for ongoing participation through our optional Walker Recognition Scheme. As milestones are reached, you will receive certificates and other incentives to keep you on track.

To find an open walking group in your area go to the Heart Foundation Website below.

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COMMUNICATION GUIDE FOR FARM FAMILIES

The Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) has published an important resource for farming families.

A Guide to Communication for Farm Families has been developed to increase understanding of the importance of effective communication and to build communication skills among family members and their advisers.

GRDC Managing Director Peter Reading said the publication had been produced in response to an identified need for such a resource.

“Following on from the success of the GRDC’s A Guide to Succession – Sustaining Families and Farms, many people have asked how they can get their farming family to communicate more effectively,” Mr Reading said.

“This new guide provides families with real life examples of the challenges and outcomes facing a family business. It draws on family structures and plans emanating from family meetings, how they played out in reality and how they might guide future plans. It also provides usable tools to put into practice that will enhance communication.”

Mr Reading said communication was a critical component of a healthy, sustainable grains industry with its people being the most important asset.

“For Australian grain growers to remain competitive in a constantly changing global grains market, it is essential that, as for any business, there are effective succession plans in place and the existence within enterprises and across the sector of constructive communication. There are many great suggestions and ideas in this booklet and I recommend it to everyone living and working in a family business.”

The guide has been compiled and written for the GRDC by NSW Communication Consultant, Lyn Sykes, and Rural Solutions SA Community Support Consultant, Judy Wilkinson.

It is available for free plus postage and handling from Ground Cover Direct, call free on 1800 11 00 44.

SO YOU’VE GOT A ‘MENTAL ILLNESS’…WHAT NOW?

So, you’ve got a ‘Mental Illness’? … What now? is a FREE new resource written entirely by mental health consumers.

Finally! A resource written by those who have been there. This booklet is an introduction to the mental health system, to “consumer perspective” and to some of the diversity of how consumers respond to a diagnosis of ‘mental illness,’ written entirely by a team of mental health consumers.

It provides information ranging from what “consumer” means to how diagnoses work; from where to find help to human rights frameworks. It is brimming with useful information, all from the perspective of people with lived experience of ‘mental illness.’

Beautifully illustrated with cartoons by batty cartoonist and 2004 HREOC Human Rights Award winner, Merinda Epstein, and punctuated throughout with thoughts about madness, creativity, power, language and the human condition, this resource will appeal on many different levels.

Download the Booklet below.

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SURVEY FINDS THOSE WITH A MENTAL ILLNESS ARE MORE SOCIALLY ISOLATED AND INCREASINGLY USING SOCIAL MEDIA

As part of October’s Mental Health Month NSW, new survey findings have been released to reveal that people with some experience of mental illness are often socially isolated with few close friendships, and are increasingly using social media to meet people.

The survey is part of a research study by the Mental Health Association NSW into friendship, social support, psychological distress and mental well-being patterns and trends in NSW. It showed that more than two-thirds of those surveyed found it difficult to make new friends, with many now turning to social media sites like Facebook to try to meet people.

The study supports the Mental Health Month NSW theme of “Good friends help us bounce back”, which aims to promote the importance of friendships in building people’s resilience to both small and major setbacks in life.

A total of 456 people completed the online survey anonymously via the Mental Health Association NSW website during August and September 2010, answering questions about friendship, social support, use of social media, mental health status, resilience and well-being levels.

The majority of participants were female (84%), and between the ages of 26-45 (45%). Almost half the participants reported a past experience with mental illness (43%), with the most common diagnosis being depression (54%), followed by anxiety (18%), bipolar (16%), other (7%), schizophrenia (3%), and personality disorders (2%). Most participants reported having no dependents (67%), working more than six hours a week (74%), and paying rent (53%).

No best friend
Nataly Bovopoulos, Mental Health Promotion Manager, Mental Health Association NSW, said that the study revealed that there was a concerning link between friendship and mental health. “More than 60 per cent of people surveyed, who have had a diagnosis of a mental illness such as depression or anxiety, say they have no one they can call a best friend. And 40 per cent would have trouble finding someone to drive them to the doctor if they were sick,” she said.

“The study also showed that younger people were twice as likely to have difficulty in talking about their mental illness, with 32 per cent of 18-25 year olds not disclosing it to their friends as opposed to only 17 per cent of people overall. This suggests that younger people could be experiencing more of the stigma attached to mental illness.”

The study also showed the extensive use of social media, indicating that online communication may be replacing face-to-face contact for some people as they are finding it easier to meet like-minded people via Facebook. An overwhelming majority (96%) of 18-25 year olds use social networking sites, as opposed to 72 per cent of respondents overall.

While the advent of social media no doubt provides comfort for many people, Ms Bovopoulos also said that it was important to try to develop and maintain face-to-face friendships.

“We found that people who reported enjoying close, empathic, supportive, and caring friendships, who like and are interested in people, and who enjoy interacting with others for their own sake had higher psychological well-being, greater resilience, and lower psychological distress.

“It is important for us all to reach out to people we suspect may be struggling, and offer them friendship and support, as it can really help them get back on track,” she said.

Key survey findings

  • Friendships and social support have positive relationships on our mental wellbeing and resilience. People who talk to their friends about their problems have better mental health.
  • People currently experiencing symptoms of mental ill-health often deal with problems on their own rather than talk to others.
  • People with a mental illness diagnosis, and currently experiencing symptoms of mental ill-health, have fewer people to depend on and rely on for support
  • Social media can be a useful tool for people to keep in touch with friends, and a much less confronting form of communication for some people, especially to make new friends. However, there is concern for vulnerable groups that social media could replace face-to-face relationships for vulnerable groups.
  • People who are at risk of, or have experienced a mental illness, can benefit from developing skills to enhance their social support and develop new relationships.
  • Experiencing a mental illness can make many people feel isolated from their friends and family. Further efforts to de-stigmatise mental illness will encourage more people to talk to others that they trust about their experiences and seek help when needed.

For further information about Mental Health Month NSW, visit WayAhead, Mental Health Association Website below.

WORK SAFE AUSTRALIA

HOW TO COPE WITH A FINANCIAL CRISIS

If you are feeling stressed about money you are not alone. Many people have ­recently lost their jobs or are worried about being retrenched. Others have seen their hard earned investments collapse. Many are struggling to make ends meet.

Some people may feel guilty or blame themselves, but it’s important to remember that it is not your fault. What is happening to you is happening to many others.

Some common reactions to financial hardship are:

  • Tiredness and loss of interest
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Loss of appetite or sex drive
  • Impaired memory or concentration
  • Anxiety, anger, irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Withdrawing from others
  • Loss of direction, feeling powerless

In some people, financial stress combined with other underlying factors can lead to ­depression, anxiety disorders and ­behaviours such as over-eating, over-spending, ­alcohol or drug abuse and family conflict.

Try to be patient. Recovery from any ­significant loss takes time. However, there is a lot you can do to take control of your situation. beyondblue offers these suggestions:

What you can do:

  • Write down your worries and use ‘structured problem-solving’ (SPS) strategies to find practical solutions.
  • Get support from family and friends and talk to them about your concerns.
  • Exercise regularly and eat well. ­Exercise is a great stress buster.
  • Avoid unhealthy coping behaviours such as drugs and alcohol, smoking and comfort eating as they only make it worse in the long run.
  • Try to keep things in perspective and focus on the positives. It’s not all bad.
  • Become a volunteer. This can provide a purpose and social interaction. Ring Volunteering Australia: 03 9820 4100.
  • Take control of your finances. Draw up a budget. Speak to a financial counsellor, an accountant or Centrelink on 13 23 00.
  • A relaxation technique can help release stress. Learn meditation, muscle relaxation, deep breathing, yoga or tai chi and practise daily.

When to see your doctor:

  • You should never be hesitant to seek ­professional support. Your GP is here to help and will not judge you. See your doctor if:
  • Your emotional distress is severe or ­persists more than 2-3 weeks
  • You find it hard to function and carry out day-to-day tasks
  • You are using alcohol/other drugs to cope
  • You have self-harm or suicide thoughts

beyondblue has released a comprehensive booklet – “Taking care of yourself after retrenchment or financial loss”. To order a free copy freecall 1300 22 46 36 or go to their website below.

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MANAGING THE PRESSURES OF FARMING

It’s work is based around a NSW Farmers Mental Health Blueprint which is a summary of key issues that should be addressed, and the major actions that should be taken. To view the blueprint please click here: NSW Farmers Mental Health Blueprint.

One of the actions of the blueprint in which Ag Health Australia has developed with farmers across Australia is enhancing the resilience in farming communities to manage the pressures of work and life on farm.

A resource has been developed specific to NSW and SA farmers that provides information about the most difficult pressures on the farm business, farm family and personally and some practical tips to manage them.

To view the Managing the Pressures of Farming on-line resource go to Managing The Pressures Of Farming Life Handbook Website below.

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RURAL ASSISTANCE AUTHORITY (RAA) ASSISTANCE MEASURES

The New South Wales Rural Assistance Authority administers a wide range of assistance measures to the rural sector. These assistance measures are both Commonwealth and state funded. Whilst the rural sector is its core client, the Authority is also responsible for small businesses that have suffered loss or damage due to natural disaster.

Farm Innovation Fund
A package to assist primary producers identify and address risks to their farming enterprise, improve permanent farm infrastructure and ensure long-term productivity and sustainable land use, aiding in meeting changes to seasonal conditions.

Natural Disaster Relief Scheme
Assistance for primary producers and small businesses affected by flood/fire/hail or other declared natural disaster.

Appeal review process
An independent appeal process for applicants who have had an application for assistance refused.

Farm debt mediation
Mediation under the Farm Debt Mediation Act provides for the efficient and equitable resolution of farm debt disputes.

Visit the Rural Assistance Authority website below.

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CLIMATE CHANGE

For all information regarding Climate Chance visit The Department of Environment & Energy website below.

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CARBON FARMING INITIATIVE

The Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI) is a voluntary Australian Government carbon offsets scheme to help farmers and land managers earn additional income from reducing emissions such as nitrous oxide and methane and sequestering carbon in vegetation and soils through changes to agricultural and land management practices.

By participating in the CFI, farmers and land managers who reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions or sequester carbon will be able to generate credits for this abatement that can then be sold to other individuals and businesses wishing to ‘offset’ their own GHG emissions.

The CFI officially commenced on 8 December 2011 and since 2 April 2012 land managers have been able to apply to the Clean Energy Regulator to undertake CFI projects.

CLEAN ENERGY REGULATOR
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Tocal Skills Training has been developed by NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) to meet the needs of farmers, primary industries, agribusiness and the community.

Courses are delivered locally by highly skilled and respected Department of Primary Industries staff. Many of the courses are subsidised to reflect the public benefits provided by the adoption of more sustainable farming practices.

Visit the Department of Primary Industies website below

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