Shannon Noll tells Aussies to get off their bums
HE'S made headlines for going on rants in the past but this one might be Shannon Noll's best yet.
The singer has implored Aussies to "get off their bums" and start doing something about the drought crisis currently facing the country, said to be the worst seen in centuries.
Having come from a family that was left devastated from droughts on their farm in Condobolin, in western NSW, Noll said he knew first hand the issues being faced on properties.
But despite losing his dad and watching his family go under, the former Australian Idol runner-up said the current crisis was worse.
Noll criticised the banks, accusing them of carelessly lending, and hit out at Aussies in general who are buying fruit from overseas.
"I just think it's disgraceful to be honest," he told hit105's Stav, Abby and Matt this morning.
"It's careless lending, I think that's the biggest problem with it at the moment. Guys have got no choice but to try and feed their stock.
"A lot of the time the banks will be quite willing to let you borrow money knowing full well you're not going to have a lot of chance to pay it back and in turn they'll be able to kick you off your farm and own the real estate and own the country.
"We've got farmers throwing out oranges because they're not perfect and we're eating apples that have been shipped from America that were picked 12 months ago. How that sort of stuff can be healthy, I don't know."
The I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here star said banks should be buying a heap of hay and sending it to drought-stricken areas.
NSW has recorded the fifth-driest July on record with the dry spell marking the seventh consecutive month of below-average rainfall across the state.
The latest Bureau of Meteorology climate summary, released on Wednesday, found it was also the driest July since 2002 with many areas across the state recording the lowest July rainfall on record or the lowest amount for at least 20 years.
The dry spell is hurting farmers with 99 per cent of NSW officially in drought.
Queensland's Department of Agriculture and Fisheries estimates 57 per cent of that state is in drought.
Noll said if we bought hay off farmers in Victoria who still had it and sent it to states like Queensland so livestock could be fed then farmers were winning twice.
"Without farmers we've got no fruit and veg, no cotton for clothing, anything - we haven't even got beer," he said.
"By the time people realise that it will be too late for a lot of people which is very sad and I just hope we can start getting off our bums and doing something about it.
"I think Trump is putting subsidies on tariffs and that sort of thing to protect the local growers, so I think it's about time we started looking after our Australian agriculture a bit more and maybe try and promote it, put it out there so everyone can buy instead of importing stuff we don't need that we can happily grow here."
Noll's opened up about his family's struggles, which he previously revealed to contestants on I'm a Celeb.
"We had two major droughts while growing up on the farm and (after) the second one, we tried to farm two years in a row after we lost dad in a farming accident, and failed because of the drought and then that drought ended up being the first two years of a 10 year drought so that more or less put us out," he said.
"We were financially ruined, because we were already in a bit of debt anyway, then two years failing just put as further and further in the hole.
"It got to a point where we couldn't go on and we had no stock, no anything, no money to buy anything so we had to get out then and this is the worst drought in history, this one at the moment, so it's a fair bit different to what we went through."
Noll made headlines recently when he was forced to apologise for a foul-mouthed onstage rant and explain why he threatened to punch an audience member.
His comments about the banks come after the Commonwealth Bank this week donated $2 million to help farmers.
Of the $2 million, $1.75 million will go to the Australian Red Cross's national fundraising appeal while $250,000 will support charity Rural Aid's Buy a Bale program.
Throughout August, CBA branches will also be accepting public donations to the Red Cross appeal.
The bank also announced it would not apply default interest rates on business term loans for customers suffering financial difficulty because of the drought.
CBA's move comes after agribusiness bank Rabobank said on Monday that it would not apply higher penalty interest rates on loans in default due to drought.
NAB also announced a drought assistance package in July for customers in NSW and Queensland.
On Monday, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian doubled the government's drought relief package from $500 million to $1 billion.