RACQ Foundation provides drought relief on Western Downs

RACQ Foundation provides drought relief on Western Downs

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Steve Hine was among the RACQ Foundation volunteers who made the trip to Tara and Miles.

Steve Hine was among the RACQ Foundation volunteers who made the trip to Tara and Miles.

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A team of RACQ Foundation volunteers have done their bit to help out the Tara and Miles communities during a two-week visit in March.

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A team of RACQ Foundation volunteers have done their bit to help out the Tara and Miles communities during a two-week visit in March.

RACQ Foundation's Bridgette Muller said the visit was part of the organisation's latest Community Assistance Program, which provided practical help to communities doing it tough.

"Farmers in Tara and Miles have been hit hard by the drought in recent years, and although rain in March provided some relief, many locals continue to face immense financial pressure," Ms Muller said.

"Our mechanics helped fix tractors and machinery and serviced farm vehicles while our non-mechanical employees helped with other jobs like setting up IT equipment, painting and fencing."

The RACQ Foundation also donated cricket equipment to the Tara and Moonie Cricket Club and volunteers had helped paint and clean up the Miles Historical Village Museum.

"When drought hits, it's not only the farmers who suffer but the whole community," Ms Muller said.

"That's why RACQ Foundation teamed up with Drought Angels to also put on a 'Rural Day Off' for local farmers."

Among the volunteers was senior traffic response officer Steve Hine, who was able to use his carpentry skills to do repair work on houses and sheds.

"This was my second trip with RACQ Foundation and I really enjoyed getting to know the graziers and hear their stories about what life has been like during the last few years with the drought," he said.

"Although we were only with the farmers for a short time, the country hospitality we were extended made us feel very welcome and we all felt like we'd made new friends at the end of it.

"While we worked hard, it was worthwhile knowing that we'd made a difference and their lives would be a little bit easier because of the work we'd done."

Cattle producer Julie Pye, along with husband Richard, runs five properties in the Drillham and Dulacca area.

She said she was blown away by the visit, with volunteers doing everything from mechanical services on utes to fixing doors in their house that hadn't closed for years," she said.

"To have people come and do things for us and want to know about our life in the bush, it was a bit overwhelming," she said.

"It was really probably the hardest drought and the longest drought that we've ever fed through but we can sit here and and say we did it.

"Some people think a drought finishes when it rains.

"But you've got to get back on your feet and you have to repay the debt and get back on track emotionally."

The RACQ Foundation Community Assistance Program to Tara and Miles was the tenth of its kind, and two more trips are planned for later this year.

RACQ Foundation volunteers and Cr Andrew Smith from Western Downs Regional Council.

RACQ Foundation volunteers and Cr Andrew Smith from Western Downs Regional Council.

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