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Cloncurry District

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A very rewarding day in the Cloncurry district. We travelled to four farms where our volunteers have been working all week. While the jobs they do are important over and over again farmers say it’s the conversation, the companionship and friendships developed that have the most impact. A very important weapon in the battle for mental well being in the bush. As one farmer said to me, “In wouldn’t care if they sat on their backside all day as long as they talked to me”. 

Connecting Communities Australia and the RACQ Foundation always try to buy everything locally including flood, materials fuel and of course accommodation. With the graziers suffering so are towns like Cloncurry. 

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Visit to Western NSW to Connect with Communities

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I’ve just completed a truly enlightening trip to Western NSW. A four hour delay out of Sydney airport was a forerunner to weather conditions across Western NSW as strong winds reduced Sydney Airport’s capacity to one runway.  I was travelling to Dubbo to attend the the Western Support Network Meeting. The group consists of government and non-government rural support agencies discussing issues and ongoing programs assisting communities and farmers in Western NSW through the drought. It was a great opportunity to share Connecting Community Australia’s programs to support rural and remote communities.

In the afternoon I travelled with James Cleaver from the DPI out through Nyngan towards Girilambone. Strong westerly winds were driving a dust storm across the region. These conditions were  really concerning forerunner to summer. That night we stayed with a farming family discussing the drought and the measures farmers are taking to manage the situation. Like everyone they have real concerns if there aren’t any summer rains.

Today was really inspiring as we visited the Gilargambone and Marra Public Schools. Marra holds the honour of being the most isolated school in NSW. I shared with them CCA’s volunteer program to assist these schools. It includes improved facilities, painting, gardening and the building of a bike pump track for the kids. The program ends with an event involving the whole community.

The staff at these schools are truly inspirational and innovative in providing excellent learning environments for their children. CCA is now seeking funding to run these programs.

Julia Creek Drought and Flood Relief Project

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For six years of drought in North West Queensland, farmers struggled to keep their livestock alive, worked to make ends meet and prayed for rain. Then it flooded.

The scale of devastation in North West Queensland has been described as an “inland tsunami”. It’s estimated that there are approximately 1.5 million cattle in the region, it’s estimated 500,000 perished in the unprecedent flood.

Connecting Communities Australia (CCA) partnered with RACQ to send 20 volunteers to Julia Creek to work on 12 properties for a week. This team did the following: 

  • Repair machinery such as four wheel drives, quads and motorbikes that enable community organisations to operate
  • Assist with fencing, painting, gardening and cleaning of club/recreational facilities 
  • Provide financial planning advice and assistance  

The project provided much needed practical, on the ground support and assistance to graziers as they begin rebuilding and look to the future. 

Having worked together on two other projects this year CCA and the RACQ Foundation are well placed to  assist, including tangible operational support, as well as emotional support to flood affected communities.