The small community of Monto has welcomed Rural Aid's help in bringing the town's renewal projects to life, while also bringing a welcoming financial injection into the town.
Rural Aid sent 47 enthusiastic volunteers to the North Burnett region earlier this month, as part of it's inaugural 'Ten Town Makeover' initiative, which aims to highlight the impact of one of the worst droughts in history on small country towns.
The army of volunteers spent a week in the town, undertaking a range of infrastructure projects which town leaders identified as important to the community.
Rural Aid CEO John Warlters said it had been a long road since last October when Monto was announced as one of their town makeover winners.
"Monto's community has worked hard, coming up with ideas and forming those ideas into a plan for their vision of their future," Mr Warlters said.
"Small towns have a unique symbiotic relationship with the farms located around them.
"Farmers rely on their local town for off-farm income through employment, farm employees and services from the local doctor, teachers, dentists, accountants and government support staff.
"Take these towns out of the equation and the local ecosystem is impacted forever."
Under Rural Aid's sustainable community program, 10 country towns will receive a minimum of $100,000 to support the makeover of the towns over five-years.
The $100,000 includes:
- $10,000 for town leaders to workshop with experts in rural/regional town renewal with the aim of developing a long-term renewal strategy.
- $90,000 for materials for maintenance projects identified by the town leaders, that fits within the scope of work. If available, materials will be sourced locally to support local businesses.
Carly Baker-Burnham had a feeling of brief disbelief when Rural Aid called announcing their town had won.
"The feeling of hope rose from my stomach to my heart," Ms Baker-Burnham said.
"Monto is so grateful for this opportunity, it will bring such a buzz of energy and positivity.
"We really need it, like most communities in rural Australia.
"We are one of lucky ones."
Ms Baker-Burnham said the rejuvenation of Monto would remind residents of what it means to be part of the community.
"Rural Aid will inject money, time and love into our little humble town and our community will blossom," she said.
Rural Aid said the long-term renewal projects had been made possible thanks to the generosity of their volunteers in giving their time and expertise.
"Our thanks also go out to Evolution Mining for their generous $100,000 donation to support community activities across multiple years," Mr Warlters said.
"Many of their employees and their families live in rural towns in the area and their community will benefit from the work being done, the financial injection and most importantly, the community coming together for their town's future.
"I would also like to thank Ergon Energy Network for adding their generous support to the Our Towns initiative, with Monto being the second after their support of Gayndah, last month.
"Rural Aid community builders series webinar sponsors, Bushells is also sponsoring town community meetings, such as 'Our Towns', and will be providing much needed cuppas in Monto."
In August, the charity organisation delivered 60 bales of much needed fodder to four Monto farmers.