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WA truckies hook up with BHP and SIMS Metal to send scrap rail to drought-hit Queensland farmers

Kendall O'Connor and Kelly Butterworth, Monday March 11, 2019 - 12:03 EDT
ABC licensed image
The rail being donated weighs 65kg per metre, with enough for hundreds of kilometres of fencing. - ABC licensed

A convoy of trucks from Western Australia's Pilbara region is making its way east to help farming communities devastated by recent flooding in Queensland.

Truck driver Michael King decided to act when he heard how dire the situation was.

"We were carting chemicals to McArthur River after the floods because they couldn't get any across from the eastern states, and we just ran into people at Cape Crawford — they enlightened me with what exactly was going on there," Mr King said.

"I rang my daughter who works down in Newman and she put us in contact with someone else and consequently we came back here back to Port Hedland and off we went.

"It's not that hard to do it, anyone can do it, it's just a matter of getting off your backside and doing it."

The scrap rail was donated by mining giant BHP and SIMS Metal.

"The rail is good stuff in station country, it's not the easiest thing to handle but it doesn't rust away," Mr King said

BHP manager of rail execution Glenn Osborne said when the call came for help, they all got to work.

"I couldn't imagine what some of the people in Queensland are going through at the moment and lots of different people are coming together today and over the coming weeks to support with something small to bring their lives back together," Mr Osborne said.

"It has been a little difficult, but we've got a great team here in Port Hedland and they all came together and worked together.

"We've got lots of people that have come to site on their day off and support people with the loading of the rail, so it's been a team effort."

Up to 800 tonnes of rail is being donated.

The rail will arrive in Cloncurry to be cut into smaller pieces and used as strainer posts in fencing.

Mr Osborne said the rail would cover hundreds of kilometres of fencing.

Challenging times ahead

Meanwhile in the Queensland town of Cloncurry, Chris Male from volunteer group BlazeAid has been setting up a base to prepare for incoming donations.

She said a lengthy clean-up lies ahead now that the floodwaters had subsided.

"It's been devastating to see the dead stocks, the properties lost, the homes inundated," Ms Male said.

The first convoy of rail is due to arrive in Cloncurry this week.

Ms Male said the contribution would be put to good use.

"They're champions to do that, absolute champions," she said.

"I think there will be a lot of financial hardship in the coming little while, but I also think a donation indicates to people that someone cares, someone has thought of them, someone has gone to some trouble to help them.

"So I think it is just a show of, 'we're with you, we're thinking of you' and that's important."


© ABC 2019

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