GULF Horizons Foundation, a charity focused on supporting people in crisis in our rural communities, is pleased to announce today that the Federal Member for Leichhardt, Warren Entsch MP, has been appointed Patron.
Gulf Horizons was established in 2011 to address the challenges of the live export ban, floods, fires, drought, crippling debt and economic ruin faced by rural communities throughout the Gulf.
In 2016, CEO Neill Newton and his Board plan to extend the charity to not only support the Gulf region, but also the north, central and western regions of Queensland, raising significant amounts of money through unique Art Unions, state-wide donation drives, corporate and private sponsorships and special events, and distributing these funds back to communities in need.
“When I met with Neill and Sponsorship Manager Ray Wallace, it drove home the sad irony that our grazing and farming communities generate world-class produce yet cannot put food on their own tables,” Mr Entsch said. “With the banks mercilessly foreclosing it makes daily life incredibly stressful for these very tough Australians.
“I know that Queenslanders can be very generous when others are in need, and charity certainly starts at home, so I’d encourage any interested corporate partners, individuals, associations, clubs, schools and churches to get in touch with Gulf Horizons and find out how they can support their work in a whole range of ways.”
Mr Newton said that Gulf Horizons Foundation is the support base for the suffering grazing, farming and agricultural communities in the Gulf region of Far North Queensland.
“These communities suffered extreme pressure from the live export ban, followed by devastating floods that destroyed properties and drowned some 350,000 head of cattle, (worth $17 million) then fire throughout the region … and then four years of drought,” he said. “Subsequently, crippling debt and low beef prices have put many people into economic ruin.”
Gulf Horizons is now planning to grow its support base to embrace rural Queensland and not be bound by geographical regions. This is a grand plan, but it is because people in Winton, Longreach and other areas are equally in dire straits. Education, medical, trade training, emergency relief are some of the identified needs requiring attention.
A Needs Analysis was conducted in 2014 at Mt. Surprise – with many people from the surrounding communities attending. The areas identified for attention from Gulf Horizons were added to the website – but here is a small extract:
• Education for children on cattle stations is critical, as their parents can no longer afford to send them to boarding schools, and internet services are poor. This needs solutions.
• Medical – places as Georgetown do not have a dentist, optometrist or General Practitioner, and the Flying Doctor only arrives on one day per week. This needs solutions.
• Trade Training – there is no TAFE college in Georgetown and the Normanton College is closing. It is critical to bring trade training back to young people in rural Queensland.
• Emergency funds – many graziers and farmers cannot afford to put food on their table. This needs solutions.
• Crippling debt – many graziers and farmers are at the mercy of the banks and losing their properties that have been in families for generations. A special emergency fund needs to be established to assist and solve these challenges.
• Suicide – over 35 people have taken their lives in the Gulf region alone – due to debt loads and stress. This has to end. We believe that a sizable fund will help alleviate many of these situations.
The Foundation is non-profit organisation. It was established in 2011 and maintained a minor maintenance role. As conditions have worsened in rural Queensland, it is time to escalate and grow, in order to bring relief. Neill Newton, the CEO, has a strong background in the corporate sector and charity. He has founded and built a successful humanitarian medical charity in Macau SAR, and is using many of the same principles to build Gulf Horizons.
Fundraising will comprise multiple pillars, as:
• Art Unions (already completed two successfully)
• Corporate Sponsorships
• VIP Fundraising events
• Alliance Partners (hotels, as the Cairns Colonial Club, inviting guests at check out to donate to GHF,). Other Partners as Bill’s Marine, restaurants and others under negotiations, also inviting donations from customers.
• Social Clubs as Lions, Rotary, Jaycees, schools – to undertake fundraising initiatives.
• Grants – Commonwealth and State, Corporate.
• Special events – sports and entertainment fundraising initiatives.
• Door Knocking appeals
• Friends of Rural Queensland monthly donations
• Art Unions
The CEO is installing high profile marketing collateral, and undertaking special publicity that will position the Foundation throughout Queensland, and into other states. If you’re interested in finding out more please contact or visit www.gulfhorizons.org