Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Drought Ravages Largest Area of State Recorded; Workshop Plan for Property Owners Doing It Tough to Help Themselves

Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Drought Ravages Largest Area of State Recorded; Workshop Plan for Property Owners Doing It Tough to Help Themselves

Article excerpt

Byline: OWEN JACQUES APN NEWSDESK

IT IS a plan to help them help themselves.

On Friday, 79% of Queensland was formally drought-stricken, the largest area ever recorded.

Parts of the Sunshine Coast, Gympie, Gladstone, Toowoomba, Southern Downs and Western Downs are now on the list and eligible for financial help from the State Government. In New South Wales, the drought is ravaging much of the state's top half beyond the coastline.

But months before these latest Queensland declarations, UnitingcareCommunity's Paul Norton began travelling to some of the state's most remote centres.

As part of a greater campaign to help communities better understand and recognise mental health issues, particularly for areas in crisis, the trainer went to work.

Since the end of November, he has helped UCC hold these workshops 22 times -- a further 15 will be held over the next three months.

Mr Norton said while services can be scarce for those needing emotional help in these isolated pockets, rural communities can often be their own safety net. …

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