The last few years have been a once‑in-a-lifetime experience for many of us, having gone through a global pandemic and a slow and steady re-entry into our new normal. The experts have said that this pandemic will continue to resurface, which means we need to continue to be adaptable to change.
It is easy to forget that even though we are remote in the Central and South West of Queensland, we are still part of a global environment. While the world, nation and state grappled with the pandemic and all its effects, here in our region, life went on, always cognisant of events unfolding around us.
The Central West and South West regions are areas typified by agriculture, tourism, some mining and resources, small business and the public sector. In these industries, we weathered the worst of the pandemic, probably better than other areas of the state and nation.
Our service region, however, is also one that has witnessed some decline from a population perspective. Recent census data and local observation suggest we have bottomed out, and the coming decade will see a reversal of this trend. That is my optimistic opinion anyway.
With the backdrop of the global environment reflecting on our nation, the issues confronting our region are no different to those facing the nation. We continue to experience housing shortages, despite the population decline. Access to skilled and unskilled labour has stifled the hospitality and the agricultural industry, particularly the sheep industry.
On the upside, we have welcomed much-needed rain over large parts of the region, with some areas revoking their drought declaration. With an expected La Nina period due to arrive, fingers crossed for this rain to continue, and the region will once again reach its full agricultural potential. Continuing that good news, more than anything else, we live in a part of the world typified by optimism, resilience and innovation, culture and values set personified by the RESQ+ team.
RESQ+ has continued its excellent service delivery during this period. We have continued to build our partnership with Red Ridge Interior, the region’s premier arts and cultural entity, and here, I would call out the Wangkangurru wangka-purru Language Dictionary.
The first dictionary of Wangkangurru wanga-purra language was launched in April this year, honouring the work of Elders and language keepers Anpanuwa ‘Joyce’ Crombie, Aulpunda ‘Jean’ Barr Crombie and Jim Crombie. This dictionary was an initiative of the Mobile Language Team and Two Sisters Talking (Joyce and Jean), supported by Red Ridge Interior Queensland Ltd, RESQ+ and the Queensland Government through the Indigenous Language Grants.
We have continued to support a wide range of community events and groups and improve our support, resources and tools for job seekers who remain at the core of the service. The following pages outline some of the demonstrated activities of RESQ+.
With the current contracts due to cease on 30 June 2023, and as a new federal government moulds a new policy approach, I hope the work of RESQ+ will be considered an example of service delivery that delivers outcomes—a win-win for government, community and clients.
In closing, I’d like to thank Chris, and his team spread across the Central and South West regions. They are the ones on the ground, in the communities, delivering with passion and enthusiasm.
Board Chair and Director of RESQ+
and Chief Executive Officer, Remote Area Planning and Development Board (RAPAD)
Chairman’s Message David Arnold, Chief Executive Officer of RAPAD, Chairman of RAPAD and RESQ.