Rural Aid makes decision about Gayndah invasion
GAYNDAH’S long-awaited Rural Aid makeover will have to wait due to rising concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic.
An army of 70 volunteers was due to arrive in Gayndah from March 22–28 to beautify and reinvigorate the town.
This visit has been postponed by Rural Aid, and a future date is yet to be determined.
A statement issued by Rural Aid CEO John Warlters revealed the decision was made in response to government recommendations to cancel public non-essential public gatherings of more than 500 people.
“The safety of our Farm Army volunteers, Rural Aid staff, and board members, our stakeholders, community members, and supports remain paramount,” Mr Warlters said.
“This will be the priority for us.
“A new date will be set for Gayndah’s makeover once health authorities advise it is safe to do so.”
Gayndah was selected as one of 10 rural towns across Australia to be revitalised as part of a rural initiative to ensure their sustainability.
North Burnett Regional councillor for Division 4, John Zahl, said he was contacted on Monday morning by Rural Aid and was told the board would discuss its future presence in Gayndah.
“They’ve made a decision based on the medical advice from the federal and state government,” Cr Zahl said.
“The average age of their volunteers is 67, and we were planning on bringing more than 60 of them into our community.
“Toss into that the uncertainty of this crisis … the smart decision was to postpone it for the time being.”
One of the concerns the Farm Army had was about what would happen if one of their volunteers contracted the virus.
“Some of the volunteers who were planning to come may have had some reservations about moving to a country town, and then if there’s isolation, where would they go?” Cr Zahl said.
Several community events have been cancelled in the North Burnett due to coronavirus.
The Gayndah Show Committee has been advised to cancel the annual event, scheduled to take place later this year.
RSL branches across New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, Tasmania and Western Australia have also been advised to cancel Anzac Day services on April 25.