Port Stephens fishing identity floats Adopt a Shire idea ahead of trip to drought-affected Hilltops Council area

DROUGHT RELIEF: Port Stephens fishing identity John "Stinker" Clarke believes coastal shires should adopt bush towns to support them in times of need.
DROUGHT RELIEF: Port Stephens fishing identity John "Stinker" Clarke believes coastal shires should adopt bush towns to support them in times of need.

Coastal towns unaffected by the harsh realities of bush living should adopt their country cousins and provide support in times of need.

This idea was floated by Port Stephens fishing identity John “Stinker” Clarke as he prepares to travel to the Hilltops Council area in south west NSW where he will speak at an event for drought-affected farmers later this month.

“All coastal shires should adopt a bush shire and support them when they’re struggling,” Mr Clarke said. 

“We’re not affected by the extreme drought like our friends in the bush are. The people who work in the bush are stressed and under pressure and Port Stephens has so much to offer to help them.

“We should support them, let them know they’re not alone in these times, create friendships and opportunities.”

When Mr Clarke visits the Hilltops area he will be taking with him a package filled with donations from Port Stephens businesses.

This package, which will be raffled at the Day for the Blokes event in Boorowa on July 27, includes accommodation, meals, golf, tours, rides and whale watching.

The Hilltops Council area:

Mr Clarke said a getaway to a place like Port Stephens was something small to help break the cycle of stress that is affecting families dealing with drought, and believed the adopt a shire idea would be beneficial if the groundwork was laid and it could become a reality.

Coastal shires should adopt a bush shire and support them when they’re struggling.

John Clarke

“There would probably need to be a steering committee” he said. “We’d need for the mayors to get to know each other, the cricket teams to play each other, to encourage visits to each shire but once the contact was there, and friendships made, you’d see people from each shire visit. It would benefit everyone.”

Mr Clarke is one speaker lined up by Hilltops Shire for the Day for the Blokes event. He will be joined by broadcaster Peter ‘Wilko’ Wilkins, television host Gretel Killeen and Boorowa identity Richie Fleming.

“I’ll tell a few funny stories, where to catch a fish,” Mr Clarke said.

“We’ll relax, have a few beers and laugh. I consider my invitation to be a privilege and am keen to help in anyway I can.”

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