Australia - Emergency relief

Australia - Emergency relief

October 25, 2021

When an emergency COVID-19 situation emerged in Western NSW, a food truck was organised to provide immediate relief in some of the state’s most in need communities.

We stepped up to provide some much need assistance to Wilcannia, a remote town in western NSW experiencing severe hardship as a result a COVID-19 outbreak with the highest per capita of positive cases. Wilcannia has a predominantly Aboriginal population of approximately 750 people, and there are serious concerns about the impact isolation, lockdown and illness is having on the community.

Availability of fresh food is a key part of the challenge, so to help make a difference to local families, GHD through their Indigenous Services Team and the GHD Foundation provided funds which the Aboriginal Education Consultation Group (AECG) arranged for the provision of boxes of fresh produce to each of the town’s 233 homes. Each box contains fresh fruit and vegetables, meat, milk and bread sourced from Sydney Markets, 950km away.

The initiative grew from a conversation GHD's Executive Sponsor for reconciliation, Jill Hannaford had with Charlee-Sue Frail, one of their first CareerTrackers interns and a member of our first RAP Advisory Committee.

“Charlie-Sue is from Brewarrina in north-west NSW and when I offered our assistance, she connected us with AECG, who in turn helped us identify a gap in the current support being provided to Wilcannia by charities and government,” says Jill. ​​​​​​​

“Wilcannia has only two stores and many families are experiencing immense struggles accessing affordable produce. AECG highlighted that many have gone weeks without fresh items such as bread, milk, fresh fruit and vegetables and meat, so this is why we agreed to provide every household in Wilcannia with a box of fresh produce," says Jill.

“These are the times that we need to come together and do our part to help communities like Wilcannia. This was one small but really powerful way we could make a difference to so many families,” adds Andrew Olsen, Indigenous Engagement Leader.

“I was delighted to be able to work with people with strong grass roots connections to Wilcannia to identify a real need that we could support. We have also made a connection with the AECG which we will explore further as part of our Reconciliation Action Plan and the work of the GHD Foundation,” adds Jill​​​​​​​.