Message from the Chairman
It is with pleasure that I offer this report to our clients, stakeholders, including government, fellow directors and their organisations, the CEO and staff.
In 2020, they said it was a year like no other. Well, 2021 has been much the same. Regional communities continue to respond to the wide-ranging and hastily imposed government measures in response to ongoing outbreaks of COVID-19 in the metropolitan areas.
Although there have been no incidences of the disease itself in Western Queensland, COVID-19 continues to present a major test of resilience to businesses in the region, particularly in the area of tourism.
The Outback has been the place to go this year as those tourists who normally go overseas have travelled to ‘the bush’ and beyond. An upsurge in visitors, when combined with a labour and skills shortage born of lower migration and backpackers, has certainly tested the mettle of many business owners.
As it has done in the past, RESQ+ has stepped in and worked with employers to help them address these labour shortages by matching job seeker skills with jobs and providing targeted training and development programs for the individual.
This year has seen many key achievements:
- Indigenous artist Kirk Mitchell’s first gallery showing. The event was held in the Cunnamulla Fella Centre Art Gallery
and Museum and was kindly sponsored by the Paroo Shire Council. Kirk produced 27 pieces of art for the exhibition, selling six on opening night and most of his other works over the eight-week show.
- The Indigenous Business Incubator Pilot Program continues to be successful. The program now has two Indigenous businesses up and running in Cunnamulla and Mitchell, with two more in the pipeline.
- RESQ+ and Red Ridge in Blackall continue to deliver original and exciting initiatives. The Red Ridge the Label Indigenous fashion line recently marked the release of its second collection, the Georgina. Sales continue to be strong, replicating the successful performance of the Diamantina collection. Our most recent project, the creation of the Wangkangurru Language Dictionary, will when completed, prove to be a landmark achievement in the area of Aboriginal culture.
- RESQ+ supported the Longreach Show, as well as several sporting clubs and community events across our two regions.
- This year, instead of red benches, blue trees are growing everywhere. The Blue Tree Project encourages regional and rural communities to paint a tree blue to spark conversations about mental health. RESQ+ Supervisor Tim Sorensen led the projects and worked with other community groups to establish blue trees in Longreach, Barcaldine, Isisford and Yaraka.
In closing, I’d like to acknowledge our CEO, Chris Hamilton, who continues to demonstrate his excellent leadership and managerial skills on a daily basis, and equally, all of our staff who carried on with activities as normal, despite the impacts of COVID-19 on the business and our communities. Now, more than ever, an effective job seeker support program is important. The organisation’s achievements are a testament to Chris’s and our staff’s dedication and commitment, not only to the organisation but to the clients and regions we serve. In closing, I also give recognition to my fellow directors, without whom, the effective governance of the organisation would not take place.
Chief Executive Officer, Remote Area Planning and Development (RAPAD) Board and Chairman of RESQ+