Charleville welcomes volunteers with Outback Links preparing to lead a team of 54 volunteers including Rotarians, RACQ mechanics, Qantas engineers, cabin crew and a 747 captain to south west Qld in September 2016, on a trip to lend their time and skills to farmers. The aim is to raise spirits in the drought-affected community by offering a week of hard work.
“The social interaction is also very important to our farmers, we are very grateful for the help.” said Charleville Mayor, Annie Liston.
The Professional volunteer trip will see volunteers helping out across a number of properties in the Charleville district, as well as working on a community project at the Charleville Historic House Museum.
A team from Rotary will help give the museum a facelift. They will be joined by Qantas volunteers for some of the week and the teams will be working with a local tradesperson.
“Rotarians are all about community and when we see a community in need, we have to do our bit. Charleville is not that far from our own district, it’s great to assist our fellow Australians. Everyone involved in this trip is anxious to help make a difference for the people of Charleville” said Col Lee, OAM, Outback Links Rotary Support Coordinator.
“The volunteers will be assigned repair and maintenance tasks according to their skills and abilities” says Glenn Price, National Corporate Partnerships Manager, Frontier Services who is coordinating the trip.
RACQ Foundation spokesperson Renee Smith said “By sending volunteers to Charleville, the RACQ Foundation wants to help Queenslanders in the grip of this relentless drought. The mechanics are looking forward to assisting local farmers by fixing farming machinery and broken down vehicles. This will help to restore means of income and make day to day tasks easier for property owners.”
Qantas Engineering 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 Charleville. 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.
A party will be held at the Cosmos Centre in Charleville at the end of the long week thanking the volunteers, but also the farmers who hosted them. The party is an opportunity for farmers to meet and mingle, something that happens less during drought time for a range of reasons.
Recent unseasonal rain has been welcomed in Charleville, but the drought is not over yet. However, hopes are high that this rain heralds a change for the better.