Mounties Group Completes $140,000 Fire & Drought Relief Mission in Northern NSW
Far from content with simply writing a cheque, the Mounties Group relief team spent the Australia Day long weekend in the north-west of NSW, spending part of the money in the region in an effort to boost the local economy.
Their efforts culminated in a community event at the Bellata Golf Club on Australia Day, aptly titled 'Beers in Bellata', where almost 300 people turned out for live entertainment, food stalls and other activations funded and serviced by Mounties Group.
Bellata was identified as an area in need late last year, with the entire Narrabri council region - which extends north to Bellata, west to Pilliga and south to Boggabri, suffering through drought.
The area has also recorded less than 200 millimetres of rain in the last 12 months, watched over 18,000 hectares of land burn after lightning strikes in October, and the region is still fighting bushfires in the nearby Kaputar National Park.
While its agricultural importance is not widely known or spoken of, Bellata is blessed with wheat farms and olive groves that are strong contributors to Australia's domestic exports.
With this in mind, Mounties Group Chief Executive Officer, Dale Hunt said that the relief visit was a way to revitalise the community spirit as much as make a difference to the local economy through local spending and donations.
"The Bellata region used to boast a population of 600, however due to the effects of drought and fire the township is now home to just 186 residents," he explained.
"Our plans were three-fold - we wanted to bring much-needed supplies to the town, support local businesses and host an event for the community where we organised entertainment, food and drinks so the venue could put on a great afternoon.
"It was important to us that we didn't just pledge a donation - we wanted to be on the ground in the township and personally deliver the donations and be a part of the special event. We needed to let the community know they are not forgotten.
"This was such a thrill to be a part of - not only was it fantastic to provide assistance at a time where it is desperately necessary, but we also gained a greater understanding and appreciation of the work our farmers do and the conditions they do it in," he added.
Former X-Factor finalist and country singer Jason Owen headlined the entertainment on Sunday, performing some Aussie hits while also handing out back-to-school packs to local kids during his set.
Mounties Group's relief team also brought books, toys, non-perishable supplies and water donated by members of the Sydney club community and partnered with CareFlight to ensure medical professionals would be on hand to provide timely and important medical advice.
CareFlight CEO Mick Frewen said the aeromedical charity was grateful to Mounties for the opportunity to contribute in such a positive initiative. "CareFlight has a strong connection with the community in remote and regional Northern NSW. We are transporting an increasing number of patients from across the region when they need access to specialist care. CareFlight has established teams in Armidale and Tamworth, and every day are working closely with those feeling the impact of these really difficult times," said Mick.
"It's great to have a chance, working with our sponsors Mounties, to help the community in a meaningful way."
Mounties Group President, Kevin Ingram said the Group has always felt very strongly about issues like this.
"Mounties Group has a long history of supporting worthwhile causes - our hearts go out to the farmers in regional NSW and beyond," said Kevin.
"The agricultural industry is said to be the backbone of this country. It was great to see so many people join us on the ground in support of this event," he concluded.
Following the successful event, more than $60,000 will be further injected into the local economy as Mounties Group purchase a $1,000 gift card for every household to be used within the community through the 'Why Leave Town' program - a council initiative which encourages local spending.
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