Volunteers on a mission to help drought-ravaged Queensland Farmers
Outback Links will lead a team of volunteers made up of Qantas pilots, engineers and cabin crew to, Central Qld in May 2016, on a trip lend their skills to farmers and to lift the spirits of the drought-stricken community.
Longreach is one of Australia’s most drought-affected areas. The evidence is very clear from the ground and the air, most properties are destocked, dams are dry and there is no sign of drought breaking rain.
“Whilst our primary producers are resilient, 4 years of drought has worn down their mental, physical and financial resources and the Outback Links volunteers will make a huge difference” says Tony Rayner, General Manager RAPAD Employment Services Qld (RESQ).
The Spirits Raising trip led by Kate Parsons, National Volunteer Manager for Frontier Services Outback Links will see volunteers helping out across a number of properties in the Longreach district, as well as working on a community project in the Longreach township.
Seventeen engineers and 14 crew members have signed up for the Longreach trip. Six RAQC mechanics will also join.
“Volunteers will be assigned repair and maintenance tasks according to their skills and abilities” says Kate.
“Engineers will help repair equipment that may have been sitting in a farm shed for years, while other team members will assist with a range of farm improvements from painting, repairing fencing to fixing broken floorboards. A team will also be responsible for giving the Sheep and Wool Pavilion at the Longreach Showgrounds a facelift for the first time in many years.
The Showgrounds are used by the whole community during the year for a multitude of events including the Longreach Show, sporting events, youth symposiums, career days and drought forums.
Qantas’ Executive Manager Chris Nassenstein said he is proud that the airline’s own highly skilled team members are on board to help the farmers who provide so much to the Australian community and economy.
“As the national airline, and with our roots in outback Queensland, we’re honoured to be helping out the farmers in Longreach. Farmers are the backbone of Australia, and while we can’t break the drought for them, we can get in there and give them a hand. Our aim is to leave there having eased even just a little of the physical and emotional drought burden.”
Outback Links liaises with local stakeholders including rural financial counsellors, drought coordinators and local farmer coordinators to ensure the trip meets farmer and community needs.
The volunteers will also work alongside local jobseekers from an employment services organisation. RESQ works with the unemployed, disabled and Indigenous community undertaking skilling, training and community projects.
A thank you party will be held at the end of the long week thanking the volunteers, but also the farmers who hosted them, giving them an experience they’ll never forget.
The party is also an opportunity for farmers to meet and mingle, something that happens less during drought time for a range of reasons.
Frontier Services is a charity that has been working with people in remote Australia for 103 years. Frontier Services’ Outback Links program has been providing professional volunteer services supporting volunteers to help farmers and communities across remote Australia since 2005.
Spirits Raising Trip dates: May 8-14
Our special thanks to trip sponsors:
Qantas Engineering, Qantas Cabin Crew Team (QCCT), Royal Automobile Club of Queensland (RACQ), RAPAD Employment Services Queensland (RESQ)