REAL AUSTRALIA

Voice of Real Australia: Spending bucks in the bush brings big benefits

Voice of Real Australia is a regular newsletter from Australian Community Media, which has journalists in every state and territory. Sign up here to get it by email, or here to forward it to a friend. Today's newsletter is written by Stock Journal journalist Elizabeth Anderson.

Yup, it's fast approaching: Maybe your Christmas spend can benefit more than just multi-nationals. Photo: Shutterstock.

Yup, it's fast approaching: Maybe your Christmas spend can benefit more than just multi-nationals. Photo: Shutterstock.

I HAVE some potentially alarming news for you - Christmas is less than eight weeks away.

But relax, because I also bring a potential solution.

While some people would have already begun Christmas shopping, a good number, like me, have not thought that far ahead.

But, as in so many situations, regional Australia has your back - and the opportunity for you to have theirs.

You've no doubt heard large parts of regional Australia are in drought.

Naturally for a town that evolves around agriculture, when farmers have less money to spend, less money is spent in that town.

By shopping online and buying your Christmas presents in regional areas, you can provide a cash boost to a regional town, while helping keep that shop open until it rains, when it will again be in a position to thrive.

As well as bringing more money into these regional economies, many shopowners or suppliers are off farms themselves.

A Central West NSW artist, who had been forced to buy in water, says the sale of her art has helped cover the cost of at least one water bill.

Buoyant: Dubbo artist Jacinta Haycock in the studio from where she has sent paintings to new buyers found through the Buy from the Bush movement. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

Buoyant: Dubbo artist Jacinta Haycock in the studio from where she has sent paintings to new buyers found through the Buy from the Bush movement. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

This idea is getting support all the way up to parliament.

"The difference so many Australians can make if they choose to buy from a country business will spread a lot of goodwill to our hard-working families in the bush," NSW Liberal senator Hollie Hughes says.

And the appeal for those selling, according to One Day Closer to Rain (Drought) - Rural Cottage Crafts Facebook page founder Cassandra McLaren, is this is not a handout, it's a chance for rural people to do something to help themselves.

While buying online from a country boutique is one great way to get something awesome while helping the local economy, another option is to use some of your Christmas time off to hit the road, stay in these local towns and see for yourself what is on offer.

We all know that wine, naturally enough, comes from regional areas, but about two-thirds of the 600 microbreweries are in the regions, while there are also an incredible number of distilleries popping up.

If alcohol isn't your big selling point, there is chocolate and cheese and fashion and art and so much more, all being produced in towns across Australia.

Consider this as you make your holiday plans.

Elizabeth Anderson

Journalist, Stock Journal

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