Pic courtesy of Outback Heritage.
After a successful planning day on May 2, 2014, where participants from the Gulf communities came together in a conference at Mt. Surprise, the needed projects that emerged are listed below.
Gulf Horizons Foundation will conduct further Needs Analysis conferences in other towns in the Gulf, so that a broad range of initiatives addressing the needs of the communities, are captured.
GHF will now undertake to raise funds for the following:
1) Medical Hub
- Develop a Medical Hub in Georgetown, utilizing and expanding the existing small rural hospital. This Hub will provide a central medical care point for the Gulf Region, rather than people travelling long distances to large cities, or for the access point for emergencies. The expansion will require new infrastructure, eg, buildings to house a full range of medical services, from a GP to dentists, new medical equipment and various resources as tele-medicine, surgery, x-ray etc.
- Maintain permanent medical professionals and staff at the Hub
- This Hub would also fully support clinics and staff in small bordering towns as Einasleigh and Mt Surprise.
- And create mobile units similar to this pic – being dental and medical clinics in a number of specialisms; providing free treatment to those who simply can no longer afford the cost … nor the time or fuel for travel.
Funding to raise: $6 million AUD, and then annual maintenance, staffing and support funding each year of $2 million.
2) High School
Cattle station owners who live on large properties, normally must send their children away to boarding schools. With the crippling debts, it is extremely difficult to raise up to $20,000 per child to service this amount. This is also not a good system, as families are apart for very long lengths of time. Other people living in the towns must move when their children reach High School age. So, it makes more sense to establish a High School in Georgetown, the central town in the Gulf.
This of course would not be a large school, and most of the teaching comes in via School of the Air. Yet we can start with a school to cater for 30 or more, and grow it from there as the towns and surrounding areas grow.
Funding to raise: $4 million for buildings, land, dormitories and other infrastructure. Ongoing annual funding of $2 million will be needed thereafter
3) Trades Training College
We plan to create a fund to establish a Trades and Further Education (TAFE) type college in Georgetown, so that high school leavers have a choice either to go onto university and higher education, or to apply for apprenticeships in much needed trades, as Electricians, Refrigeration Mechanics, Carpenters, Plumbers etc. and be trained at the college.
This college would also provide short term courses for adults, as welding and other related skills.
Funding to raise: $4 million for buildings and equipment. Ongoing annual funds for staffing and working capital: $2 million.
4) Recreation Centre
The community desires to have a Community Centre, to add a quality of life to Georgetown and the surrounding areas, that does not currently exist. It would provide a refuge for the women of the Gulf to meet. Yet open to all members of the community, with different usage areas.
This Centre would encompass a purpose built building featuring cathedral ceilings and open plan to allow for space and light. It would comprise a staffed upmarket coffee lounge, children’s play and minding centre, a recreation room for electronic games, gymnasium with professional quality equipment, spa and sauna. This Centre, preferably, would open onto the existing swimming pool and provide outdoor recreational area and seating.
Funding target: $5 million. Ongoing annual maintenance: $300,000.
The following projects are only minor in the amounts of funding needed, yet they are crucial needs in the community.
1) Employer Apprentice Support
It will serve no purpose to establish a TAFE type training college, if local employers cannot afford to employ and train young people in an apprenticeship arrangement, if they cannot afford to pay the salaries.
GHF plans to raise funds to cover the salaries of such apprentices. The figure at this stage is guesswork, as we do not yet know how many young people will engage to be trained as apprentices in the various trades. So we shall fix a figure of $200,000 to start, and expand from there as we undergo the TAFE college project.
2) Travelling Trades School
As many young people are based on rural cattle stations and out-f-the-way towns, we plan for a “Winnebago” type vehicle to travel to these areas and give one-on-one skills training. This will be under the guidance of the TAFE Training college. Estimated funding: $200,000. Annual ongoing amount: $100,000.
3) Rural Fire-Fighting
Fire is a devastating occurrence in the Gulf and the last fire ravaged and destroyed many properties. The cost of food provided by Station kitchens for the fire-fighters is more than what property owners can afford. Fuel as diesel is another concern.
We plan to raise funds to create a support-pool for Rural Fire-fighting. Target: $500,000 pa.
4) Education Scholarships and Bursaries
Although we have established a project for a High School, we believe that if we can lessen the burden of education costs even further, this will benefit the children and young people of the Gulf.
A Scholarship and Bursary fund is to be established. This maybe a special fund for every child to ease the costs, or treated as a scholarship for those that work hard to qualify. Those details will be established, but first we plan to create the fund.
Targeted amount to raise: $1 million, with top up each year.
Total Funds Required
Total funds to raise for establishment of the above Projects in the first year: $19.9 million.
Note: Most of the projects above centre in Georgetown. This is because it is the central town in the Gulf region. And it makes sense to have the Medical Hub, High School and TAFE college there, so ready access can be made from any direction.
However, Gulf Horizons Foundation plans to conduct Needs Analysis in all the surrounding towns throughout 2014, to undercover all the needs of the Gulf Region.
Shortly, we shall launch our fund raising for each project, in the form of raffles, art unions, corporate sponsorships, account rounding and other means.