Charities sharing flood knowledge

NQ Livestock Recovery Agency convenes charity roundtable in Isa

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Representatives from charities providing support in the flood-affected north-west met recently with North Queensland Livestock Industry Recovery Agency CEO Shane Stone in Mount Isa.

Representatives from charities providing support in the flood-affected north-west met recently with North Queensland Livestock Industry Recovery Agency CEO Shane Stone in Mount Isa.

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The "good intelligence" that on-the-ground charities are able to share with governments to gauge the effectiveness of their programs was one of the benefits of a recent roundtable meeting convened in Mount Isa.

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The "good intelligence" that on-the-ground charities are able to share with governments to gauge the effectiveness of their programs was one of the benefits of a recent roundtable meeting convened in Mount Isa, according to Susan Dowling.

The founder of the highly-regarded Sisters of the North charity was one of a number of groups working on recovery efforts that was invited to take part in the meeting by the North Queensland Livestock Industry Recovery Agency.

"Collectively in that room there were people responsible for millions of dollars," she said.

"(NQLIRA CEO) Shane Stone acknowledged how much we do.

"We're in close contact with people, we have an emotional connection, and we can create a picture for the government as to whether their programs are working.

"We have good intelligence to pass back, of people who are still needing assistance."

Related: Sisters and restockers give grassroots help

Mr Stone said it had been a good opportunity to share information and build networks, and to discuss ways for everyone to work together over the coming months and years to get communities back on their feet.

Representatives from Red Cross, St Vincent de Paul, Sisters of the North, Restocking the North West, GIVIT, BlazeAid, CWA, Rural Aid and Drought Angels took part, and Mount Isa-based mining company Glencore was also represented, thanks to their contribution to local fundraising efforts.

An NQLIRA spokesman said topics included how the work of charitable organisations could best complement the government's response, including the grants for primary producers and small businesses; the different ways charities were working with local councils to identify needs; and tips for charities supporting disaster relief, including compliance tips from the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission.

Ms Dowling said the networking aspect had been very beneficial to herself as the 'new kid on the block'.

"They understand what you're experiencing," she said. "It's a tough gig establishing a charity - there's a dark side, a lot of scrutiny."

She appreciated being linked up with the ACNC and hearing the points of view of well-established groups such as Red Cross.

Rural Aid's head of corporate relations, Richard Forbes congratulated Shane Stone for taking the initiative to get the charities supporting the recovery effort in the same room.

"It provided us with an opportunity to hear from the Red Cross about disaster relief best practice and the progress being made by NQLIRA over the past few months," he said.

"The charities felt it was particularly important to work in a more coordinated way to achieve the most effective outcomes.

"We are now looking at how we progress this.

"We also felt the shires across the country should be aware of the services that individual charities offer."

Mr Stone said NQLIRA's guiding principle was that solutions be locally-led, locally understood and locally implemented.

"This means spending a great deal of our time in the communities we're here to help and working with the charities to connect them with people we know will benefit from their assistance."

A spokeswoman said more would come from the charities roundtable.

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