The deputy premier Jackie Trad takes the wheel of Aussie Helpers’ new truck.
The deputy premier Jackie Trad takes the wheel of Aussie Helpers’ new truck. Contributed

Big surprise for Aussie helpers charity

IT was a huge surprise.

The offer of a new $60,000 120 tonne prime mover came completely out of the blue for Greg Cullen, from Charleville charity Aussie Helpers.

"We really didn't believe it a first; we thought someone was pulling our leg," Mr Cullen said.

It wasn't their only surprise. When they arrived in Brisbane to pick up the truck, deputy premier Jackie Trad was there waiting to hand them a cheque for $10,000.

Nerida Egan, who co-founded Aussie Helpers with her husband Brian, said she was delighted.

"It was a secret, the $10,000," she said. They've never had any assistance from the state before.

The truck is going to be a big help too. "[In the past] we've had to hire road trains to carry our stuff," she said. "[The new truck will] cut down the cost of transport allowing for more money on hay."

Mr Egan said it all began earlier this year.

"The CEO of Followmont [Mark Tobin] found out about the work we do in the bush," he said.

"He had contemplated making a donation. He put it to us that a donation of a truck would be more useful."

The new prime mover is miles ahead of their current fleet. With about 600 horsepower, it can carry 120 tonnes.

"Five hours after we were presented it, we had it on a property," Mr Egan said.

As for Jackie Trad, who is both Deputy Premier and Transport Minister, Aussie Helpers met her at the bush convention in July. They invited her along to the hand-over ceremony.

"I was so pleased to get the opportunity to hand over $10,000 to Aussie Helpers who do extraordinary work supporting outback farming families suffering the terrible consequences of drought," she said.

"Over the past 18 months, Aussie Helpers volunteers have visited more than 1000 families living on remote sheep and cattle stations."


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