Disaster-hit communities helped to get going again by RACQ workers turned volunteers

Allison Harding Fri, 3 May 2024 Estimated reading times: 3 minutes

The RACQ Foundation was established in the wake of the 2011 Brisbane floods and Tropical Cyclone Yasi. Since then, the Foundation has continued to support communities from the outback to the coast, pledging more than 33,000 volunteering hours to deliver its Community Assistance Projects.

RACQ team members play a key role in the projects, getting to know communities while lending their skills to complete work from repairing generators and replanting vegetation to checking solar panel batteries and training locals in technology.

Bridgette Muller, RACQ Foundation Manager

RACQ Foundation Manager Bridgette Muller said the projects provided practical on-the-ground support to Queenslanders impacted by natural disasters. Since the program began, 663 volunteers have supported 52 community groups and 160 family-owned farms or stations affected by severe weather across Queensland.

“The importance of the work we do in regional Queensland extends beyond the fences we build, the buildings we repair and farm equipment we fix,” Bridgette said. “It’s a core part of strengthening our connection to communities and making a difference.”

In October 2023, RACQ Foundation volunteers travelled to the South Burnett region in southern Queensland to assist with community work in the Aboriginal community of Cherbourg. Volunteers worked for two weeks on projects including helping the local Youth Advisory Group to restore the grounds of a lookout and assisting a rugby league club to repair their oval facilities after flooding events.

RACQ Foundation volunteers also travelled to far-north Queensland in October 2022 to repair and upgrade facilities in the Aboriginal community of Yarrabah. The 29 volunteers spent two weeks in the town helping with cleaning, gardening, and roofing, as well as carpentry, mechanical and maintenance work.

King of Yarrabah Vincent Jaabaan Schrieber is the fifth generation of his family to hold the traditional title and said the visit was of huge benefit. 

“RACQ has been a blessing,” he said. “We’re so grateful there are organisations out there that want to come into our community and help us – giving and not wanting anything back – and that’s something we’ve never seen in my community.”

David Carter, RACQ Managing Director and Group CEO

RACQ Managing Director and Group CEO David Carter said building strong and meaningful relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities across Queensland was at the heart of RACQ’s Reconciliation Action Plan.

“The projects are an incredible experience for our staff, having the opportunity to engage with the Traditional Custodians and learn more about their history, culture and local arts,” David said.  

One of RACQ’s most dedicated volunteers, Albert Budworth, has volunteered at 20 community initiatives over the years. He began his RACQ career as a patrol in 1975 but continues to volunteer even after retirement.

“Volunteering is my way of giving back and making an impact,” he said. “It’s a privilege to be able to use my time and mechanical skills to make a positive difference in the lives of others.

“The sense of community and camaraderie among volunteers is what I love. We can achieve so much more together than we could ever do alone.”

For more information, visit www.racq.com/foundation