Outback Futures Enews: August 2018
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While Selena has a well-earned break, I am taking the opportunity to pass on a short message as Chairman of the Outback Futures board. Most of you have seen the increased media focus on the drought, particularly from the severe impact of the drought in New South Wales, with a lot of attention on hay donations for hungry stock. There is a whole other discussion to be had surrounding drought preparation and the media’s focus on the worst situations, but I’ll save that for a future e-news. 

In the meantime, I’d like to put the hay bale donation stories into perspective:

Donating $1,000 towards hay for stock would buy around 2-3 tonnes of hay in Longreach. Feeding that hay to say 100 cows and calves would last 3-4 days or certainly less than a week.

In comparison, donating $1,000 towards the work of Outback Futures can provide a full 6 months of counselling/emotional support for a family to help get farming families into a resilient head space and make good drought-management decisions.

Most agricultural advisers stress the importance of planning for drought conditions when times are good, but it is even more important to plan when times are tough (such as during a drought) for the next production opportunity i.e. when the seasons come good.

While I don’t want to disparage work that other organisations are doing in the hay donation space, Outback Futures is focussed on supporting families and communities. We want to help build resilience in communities, businesses and families so that our outback communities have a strong base for their future. We see this emotional and family support as being a long-term solution that will strengthen outback families going forward.

Peter Whip


I recently returned from the Tambo and Barcaldine Six Town Tour during which the Outback Futures team spent time in Tambo, Barcaldine, Alpha, Jericho, Aramac and Muttaburra. This was my fourth time visiting Barcaldine with Outback Futures and my third visiting the smaller towns. It has been incredibly rewarding to come back regularly and to meet more children and families, as well as connect face-to-face with those who I see regularly for appointments via telehealth. I love learning about each town, what day-to-day

life looks like in remote towns.

Over the 4 days of the tour, the Outback Futures team delivered 138 appointments across the towns to provide counselling, psychology, learning and literacy support, speech language pathology and occupational therapy. Thank you to the individuals, the community centres, schools and daycares who made us so welcome. I know I speak for the entire Outback Futures team when I say that it truly is a privilege to spend time with you.

As an Occupational Therapist, my job is to support and equip people with the skills they need to participate in their life roles, especially if there is an illness, injury or developmental delay, or even an environmental barrier, such as drought, that is getting in the way. With Outback Futures I work specifically with children who are having challenges to their learning, friendships, play or learning how to care for themself. I always start by talking with a child about what they like to do and what they are good at - it’s one of my favourite parts. 

Some responses from this recent visit included ‘pigging’ (which I then had to follow up asking about), helping muster, going camping, horse riding, scooter riding, quad bike riding, motorbike riding. It’s quite the contrast from what I normally hear at my work on the Gold Coast! 

Another thing that I notice when meeting with the children during our visits is the way they talk about where they live, their community and sense of place. This is an important and positive influence for their development and confidence. Having a positive sense of belonging, and being able to get help to work through challenges and learn that things can get better, are both important parts of developing resilience, and this is what we want for our precious kids.

Thank you again to all who contribute to making our Outback Futures visits so fruitful, and I look forward to continuing to work together.

Lara Moes
Occupational Therapist 
Team Profile: Emily 

Emily recently joined the Outback Futures team as a Communications Consultant and is enjoying having the opportunity to help support rural and remote Queenslanders. Emily is currently an undergrad at the University of Queensland and will graduate at the end of the year with a dual degree in Communications and Arts. Although Emily has spent the majority of her life in Brisbane, she has family living in Longreach, and is a great example of city people reaching out to help support our Outback Family despite the distance. 

Emily has previously worked with a variety of international charities and non-profits during her study overseas in Hong Kong and after she returned home to Brisbane for university, but wanted the opportunity to connect with her local organisations to help fellow Queenslanders. Emily loves connecting with people and hearing their stories as well as traveling and having new experiences.

We are excited to have her on the team!
Mind Matters: Dealing with Grief and Loss
Grieving is the normal process of reacting to a loss, it is a highly individualised experience for everyone. We will all experience loss at some point in our lives, this may come through the loss of a relationship, job, health, death of a loved one, loss of property, ageing, divorce and more.
Grief can affect our emotions, cognition or thoughts, physical bodies, behaviours, spiritual or philosophical view of the world, and our social or professional environment.
The way we respond to a loss is influenced by personal factors, family and other connections within the community, and the extent of the attachment to what we have lost.
Some tips:
  • Just ‘be’ with the grieving person. Don’t try and fix anything, instead be empathic and compassionate.
  • Be respectful, let them share. Listen, instead of giving your opinion.
  • Be sensitive to their needs, they may not want to talk, so allow for silence.
  • Give the bereaved person your undivided attention and actively listen to them, by being fully present with them.
  • Normalise their grief experience by assuring them that what they are feeling is normal. However, if you feel they are at risk in any way then take the appropriate action of seeking professional help.
  • Allow them to express their grief without fear of being judged by you.
  • Encourage activity that feels right to them such as writing, creative activities, exercise, planning a memorial, planting, etc.
  • Follow through on any promises you make to the grieving person.
  • Be respectful of different cultural, religious and family traditions.
  • Be wary of compassion fatigue, ensure that you have self-care strategies and a good support network in place.
Adrienne Miller

If you would like to speak with someone about grief and loss, send us an email at or call 0417703729 and we can connect you with one of our counselors or psychologists, or refer you to another service in your area.
We want to thank everyone who has donated to our Go Fund Me page so far and have helped us support our Outback Family. We greatly value your contributions and couldn't do what we do without your support.

There's still time to join us in going shoulder2shoulder with our rural and remote communities that are being impacted by crippling drought and donate today! To donate, click here: 
Donate Here
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Outback Futures · PO Box 393 · Paddington, Qld 4064 · Australia

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