Ride Against Drought organisers have today made a “heart-breaking decision” and cancelled the fundraising October 27 event, deeming the weather too fickle to ensure success.
RAD was originally planned to be held on Saturday 6 October 2018 to raise money for drought-stricken farmers. Ironically, it was rained out and postponed three weeks.
The weather in South East Queensland has since been dominated by, at times, heavy rain.
RAD was designed to raise money for the Rotary District 9630 Drought Relief Fund.
Organising committee spokesman Alan Charles of the Rotary Club of Salisbury says they hope the cancelled event can be rescheduled to May 2019.
“There were a number of factors influencing this decision,” he says.
“However, of primary concern was the variable and unpredictable nature of the weather at this time of year which not only threatens the very viability of the event, but also increases the risk factor manifold on a motorbike ride.
“It was decided to hold the event on a Saturday in May 2019 which then takes the weather out of the equation and ensures its success, while maintaining the goodwill and working relationships that have been developed over the past couple of months spent planning this event.”
He thanked those who have assisted in the planning process.
Drought not over yet
Disappointed riders are urged to still make a donation to the Rotary District 9630 Drought Disaster Relief Campaign. Click here to make a donation.
While the recent rain has been welcomed by farmers, the drought is far from broken, says Brian Payne, Assistant Governor for the District which extends from Brisbane west to Charleville, Mitchell, Roma and St George.
“Two spits of rain in one fall in a few scattered locations don’t end drought,” he says. “Drought-ending rainfall doesn’t end the financial misery of nearly eight years of little or no income.”
Next year’s district governor, Patrice Robinson, says the rain has been “very hit and miss from one property to the other”.
“Some have received nothing,” says Patrice who lives in St George and is on the Drought Relief Committee.
“Besides we need to get across that a little bit of green does not mean feed, pick for some animals but if no length nothing for others.”
“Seven years of drought cannot be broken with a couple of spring storms.
“I don’t know how you can get that message across that this is a long term problem.”
The Rotary Drought Relief Fund has so far raised more than $1.25m for farmers in the region from Brisbane west to the border; some of the worst drought-affected areas in the nation.
Publicity about the RAD event has also attracted several major cash donations.
Money from the appeal goes directly to the Rotary Clubs of Roma, Mitchell, St George and Charleville who are working with local families to provide relief vouchers using third parties to identify those most affected.
This provides anonymity for the families and governance of the money.
Third party involvement is mainly through the Rural Financial Counselling Service (RFCS) and organisations such as the Charleville Neighbourhood Centre.
By donating money, rather than goods, the goods required by rural families can be bought locally via a voucher system, keeping the money in local communities.