Ten years of organising donations, much of it for drought-affected Queenslanders, has shown Queensland’s newest OAM recipient there’s a new level of poverty in the drought-stricken parts of Australia.
Juliette Wright, who hails from Camp Mountain west of Brisbane, has received a medal in the Order of Australia for service to the community through charitable initiatives.
The founder and CEO of GIVIT is already familiar with Australia’s honours, being named Australia’s Local Hero in 2015 and the Moreton Bay Regional Council’s citizen of the year in 2016.
Preceding that was a citizen of the year award for the electorate of Dickson in 2012, a national Resilient Australia award, given by the Attorney-General’s department in 2015, and the Communicator of the Year award with Toastmasters International in 2015.
Juliette said the award said to her that she was on the right track with GIVIT, which has just facilitated over 1 million donations.
“Even though it’s getting harder, it’s an acknowledgement that it’s the best practice of giving,” she said. “I never thought of something like this; I thought I was too young.”
Juliette said the nature of GIVIT had changed in that they were often buying services for people so that they felt more included in their communities.
“For example, we are seeing a new generation of children in rural areas who haven’t learnt to swim because of the cost, so they’re more drowning-exposed,” she said.
She said while the requests from drought-affected Queensland had slowed down, they had really ramped up in New South Wales, so much so that the donation facilitator now had 15 or so staff.
She believed federal and state governments were doing all they could to make sure everyone had all they needed.
“We’re now waiting to see how much of the flurry of announcements from September and October hits the ground.”