Jon Stevens says that all of the work being down by Australia’s musicians to help drought-stricken farmers is finally leading to some action by the government.
Stevens has donated his song ‘Rain Down On Me’ to farmers in need and participated on the weekend at the Hay Mate charity concert.
“We make a decision quickly whereas governments have to ask 100 other people,” Jon tells Noise11.com. “It is just bureaucracy at its worst. I was grateful to actually see the Prime Minister get on top of it and put a figure on it.
Hey Mate raised over $2 million and got the Prime Minister at least talking about a dollar figure to set aside for farmers aid. “It is up to $2.3million at this moment,” Jon says. “It sounds like a lot of money but in the scheme of things its nothing really. The big win that happened out of this, the government has gone ‘that’s right, the farmers”. It is the worst drought in history but no-one is really hearing about it. I am glad the government are now talking about putting a $5 billion support in there. I think that’s great”.
(For the record the Australian government is diverting the money for farmers from the intended budget for the National Disability Insurance Scheme creating a whole new problem for people with disabilities).
Jon wrote the song for his next album but modified it for charity. “I wrote in January among a number of songs I recorded for an album and then I went on the road and I’ve been on the road ever since,” he said. “When I asked to do Hay Mate I remembered the song ‘Rain Down On Me’. I pulled up the demo and thought this could be thing. So I rewrote some lyrics and gave it to them to see if they could make some money out of it. Every single cent will go to farmers. It is my way of contributing. The gig has finished but the work has just begun”.
The song was performed for the first time in Alice Springs. “We played it in Alice Springs and did a video up there for the song,” Jon says. “I played it that night live for the very first time. I’ve been doing a lot of acoustic versions on radio. If they want to talk about it, I’ll play it”.