While the rest of Australia grapples with the grim realities of a coronavirus outbreak, dozens of survivalists have put a plan to go bush in motion, should “crap really hit the fan”.
While the rest of Australia grapples with the grim realities of the coronavirus pandemic, dozens of survivalists have put a plan to go bush in motion should the "crap really hit the fan".
Harry* told 9News.com.au that more than 30 "preppers" have picked out a top-secret location within 100km of Melbourne.
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"It'll be roughing it, but the site is somewhere we can go to and be safe," the 44-year-old warehouse worker said.
"There's enough stuff there that 40 to 50 people could live off for two to three months.
"A few of us are hunters so we'll top up but we're not going to starve, and it's near a water source so we won't dehydrate.
"I can also sleep in my four-wheel-drive, so I can be on the move in seconds."
Eyes turn to the economy
Despite the fact coronavirus cases have surpassed 2000 in Australia, Harry isn't concerned about contracting COVID-19.
"I've been told that if you don't get it, you will know someone who will," the Victorian said.
"I'm healthy, I've had bronchial pneumonia before. It's said to be on par with that but contagious."
In the last 24 hours Victoria has been rocked by their first three deaths from the deadly virus, but Harry's main concern is the economy.
He and his group will press go on their plan should Australia enter a total economic shutdown.
The nation is already feeling the effects of a coronavirus-fuelled slump.
As out-of-work Australians queue desperately outside Centrelink offices around the nation, it's predicted that up to two million Australians could face unemployment as government restrictions close non-essential businesses.
"If people know they can't get money from the bank, there's going to be massive uproar," Harry said.
"If that happens, we have our area that we will go to.
"But not yet. We will hit a recession, but it won't take long to be back up and going."
Preppers' message to Australians
While Harry is a member of the Doomsday Prepper Australia group on Facebook, he made it clear he doesn't consider himself one.
"I started out as a survival thing. I like the idea of putting on a backpack, taking my rifle into the bush and being self-sufficient," he said.
"That got me into the preppers' way of thinking, but it's more an off-the grid thing - not so much a doomsday thing."
For the record, Harry believes shoppers who are stockpiling essentials in a panic are overreacting.
His advice to concerned Australians is to use hand-sanitiser, wash hands whenever possible, avoid crowded areas, to stay home as much as possible - and to stop panic-buying toilet paper.
"I don't know what the fuss is with these people buying toilet paper. I don't get it, I don't know what they're doing, it's not necessary at all," he said.
"There isn't a shortage, the shops that are selling it just aren't big enough to hold everything on site."
Harry's message is echoed by another "off-the-gridder", Waneeta Pollock.
Ms Pollock has lived out in the remote bush of northern NSW for over 11 years.
The 48-year-old believes panic-buying is selfish behaviour and has issued a message to Australians who have become "complacent".
"Stop panic-buying, you are putting people like the elderly that is most at risk of coronavirus in danger because they can't get the items they need," she said.
Instead she's encouraged all Australians to plant fruit trees and "at least one vegetable garden".
"You'd be amazed at the amount of food you can grow in one suburban block," she said.
"Everybody can do something to help lessen their impact on the environment and the system.
"As we've seen, the system doesn't always help you.
"You have to be able to help yourself and your family if a real catastrophe happens, as no one will be there to save you."
Like Harry she is not concerned by the virus itself.
"We've had serious outbreaks of influenza for a very long time or infectious diseases," she said.
"We live with all manner of deadly snakes out here, I'd be more likely to die of domestic violence than a virus or snakes according to our country's statistics."
*Name has been changed
Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/national/coronavirus-dozens-of-australian-preppers-to-head-out-bush-during-economic-slump/c1b61465-eb61-4805-a45f-c9d2ffd56218