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Quarterley Report - Highlights and Challenges
11 Apr 2013

So much has been happening, the fruits of my labours are starting to pay off with increased numbers of events, people and happenings in our main street - this is due in part to the Linger Longer Strategy and beautification campaigns undertaken by BRC.

The Local Area Health Action Group are holding their first Market Day and Emergency Services Demonstration on the main street on April 20.  Local Fire Brigade will be doing a demonstration on the 'Jaws of Life' - Rural Fire Brigade a static demonstration on Fire behaviours across different terrains, SES will be doing a 'Height Rescue' and the RFDS will be giving advice on Airstrip maintenance and the Medicine Chest.  Mediare Local team will be doing 'Health Checks', and the local HACC team talking about the services that they provide.  Meals on Wheels will also be there.  Both Queensland Ambulance Servie and the local Police will also be there, presenting a unique opportunity to the public to take a 'peek' into their unique jobs. 

Sign up for First Aid Training - 20 places for rural residents, as these are the most likely people to come upon an accident, or be involved in an accident.

Volunteering;  this remains a focus across all activities - new volunteers are signing on for working bees and activities across the community.  A total of 22 new volunteers have been recorded since the beginning of the new year.  Volunteering is essential to both the individual and the community, as it provides a unique platform for relationship building - new residents and young people are signing on as the advantages and benefits of being a Volunteer are being promoted.

Fordham Park - Two very successful working bees - all day from 6.00am to 6.00pm dispatched an enormous amount of work to the track, camping grounds, lawns and gardens, buildings, running rails and infrastructure.

Tons of soil have been moved, kilos of lawn seed spread, kilometers of pipe laid and hoses connected.  Two new electrical poles erected, Bar refurbished and painted, Kitchen and Betting Ring re-roofed and new floors cemented.  Vets Swabbing Stall completed, Steel erected for new double sided stalls and the Wash down pen completed. New front fence and driveway completed. Still to come: repaint the Judges and Officials facilities, Tower and Place board, fences to be painted.

New division fence (spectators from horses).

Waiting on funding:  to construct new kitchen and provide amenities for Jockeys.  At this late stage, we will have to Plan B, and hire these facilities.

Race Day:  Staff have been confirmed, catering confirmed, officials confirmed, entertainment confirmed, sponsors confirmed, marquees confirmed, ambulance and security confirmed.  Invitations sent out.  Advertising and promotions confirmed.

Fundraising:  On-going with friday night fundraisiers with the local Golf Club proving to be a hit - both Jockey Club and Golf Club are recording high participation numbers, increasing every month.  A roster of raffle ticket sellers prevents burn out of the core enthusiastic sellers.  A successful 'Night Golf' saw teams of players (3 to a team) play until 11.00 pm on a moonlit warm night - over 60 golfers and non-golfers took to the course to battle it out on 5 holes.  Children were kept occupied with games, ice-cream and fun events.

Alpha Commerative Garden

Area cleared out, soils delivered, shelters installed, and irrigation installed.  Still to come, plants and turf - the local arts groups are working on a giant mosiac to bring colour to the garden and to link the Fossilied Forrest to this parkland.  A Flood Guage and interpretive sign will be erected telling the story of flooding in the community - a testament to the resilience and tenacity of people living in the region.

Update the 'Vulnerable Peoples Register', annual review of the Vulnerable Peoples' Register by local HACC and Health Service Providers to reflect changes in circumstances of these people.  The Vulnerable Peoples' Register reflects both the mobility, mental health, assistance required, living aids (hearing, visual, mobility, oxygen etc), as well as the physical challenges for evacuation.  This document is held in within the Disaster Management Control and will be referred to in times of disaster when evacuations are likely.

Fathers & Sons Working Bee, at a local property to build chutes and portable fencing for Campdraft and Rodeo at the Showgrounds was a spectacular success.  Three generations of some families traded skills, hints and tips for cutting, welding, design and management of projects.  Local families catered for the event, providing smoko and lunches for the month of weekends for the local Rodeo Association.  These chutes and portable fences were used at the successful 4B's Rodeo (February) and the Alpha Campdraft (Easter).

Local Area Health Action Group/s - both the Alpha and Jericho chapter share difficulties in attracting Volunteer Ambulance Drivers - these volunteers accompany nurses to transport patients to hospitals, and to attend accidents.  With the average travel around 340kms, this is a pretty big committment for a volunteer.  More volunteers are needed to fill empty spaces in the rosters; this role is somewhat unappealing to young adults where a 12 hour ban of the bottle to the throttle rule applies.  Presentations at the Market Day and Emergency Services hope to present a positive case of 'Camaraderie, Compassion and Community' by making it obvious that there is an underlying sense of fun and achievement in the practise sessions and the day to day operations.  QAS are bringing informaiton about the Training for Volunteer Drivers, which include Driver Training as well as attendants up to Cert IV.  It is hoped to develop a core group of young volunteers who see this as a step into a new career in the Health Services Sector.

Challenges:  Time and Money and Critical Mass - not enough people, not enough time and never enough money will always present challenges to outback populations - couple this to regulations designed for large communities, and this results in many small communities shelling out exorbidant amounts of money for Security and Ambulances.  One event spent $3,500 in Security and another $2,200 in Ambulance fees (the clock starts ticking from the base to the destination and throughout an event until they are back at their base - nearest base Emerald 170k away).  This bites into stretched budgets, who are generally reeling form the huge impost of insurance.  Whilst all these checks and balances are necessary to protect people, in small communities, such imposts have a negative effect, and over time,communities have shelved events such as Gymkhanas and horse related events, simply because the gate money is consumed by these Event costs.  The volunteers end up working for Insurance, Security and Ambulance - the rationale is we already have Police and we pay a levy for Health - why are we paying twice?  Insurance is a difficult argument, as there are no rebates for non-claims, and there is a sentiment that people have to take responsibility for their actions.

All valid arguments; testament to the one-size fits all theory that serves to choke off a lot of initiative in the bush.  The trend to develop single events into larger events to maximise tourism does little for social participation and a healthy cross section of events and activities in a community.   

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