Will farmer suicide rates soar?

Alf Collins of Belah Valley
Alf Collins of Belah Valley Kerri-Anne Mesner

A NURSE who grew up in Marlborough and whose father is impacted by the proposed Shoalwater Bay Military Training Area expansion has raised concerns about the health impact of the situation on residents.

Bashti, the daughter of Alf Collins who owns Belah Valley, raised the concerns at the public meeting in Marlborough two weeks ago.

She told the meeting she was pretty emotional about the whole situation - the impact on the community she grew up in, the impact on her family and the impact of the stress being caused to farmers, business owners and families who will be either directly or part of the domino impact of the proposal.

Bashti, who is a nurse, read out statistics on suicide rates in Queensland and New South Wales which show the Sunshine State's statistics were two times higher than NSW during the 10 years between 2005 and 2015.

During that 10-year period, according to the Bureau of Statistics, the standardised suicide rate in Queensland was 29 in 100,000 people.

This is compared to 14 in 100,000 in NSW and 12.7 per 100,000 Australia-wide.

Bashti highlighted that the figures were higher among farmers aged 18 to 34 and research shows contributory factors include economic stress and social isolation.

"I don't want to bury my dad over this,” Bashti said.

She linked a medical incident at outside the hall at the public meeting with the stress of the proposal having on members of the community.

"Who was out there when the man passed out an hour ago (she said just before 6pm)?

"My sister and I. The nurses.

"Did anyone realise the stresses on the man that was out there passed out?

"He has gone home. He couldn't handle it. He had a massive epileptic fit.”

Topics:  public meeting shoalwater bay miltiary training area

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