New directions for Frontier Services

In an emotional discussion, the 14th Assembly sought to understand the reasons behind the changing circumstances of the Uniting Church’s valued remote area ministry, Frontier Services.

Frontier Services is changing tack, re-directing its work to community support activities and resourcing patrol ministry. Less than a year after Frontier Services celebrated its 100th anniversary  and the 13th Assembly reaffirmed its commitment to the people of remote Australia in 2012, the ministry found itself under severe financial threat due to the high costs associated with the delivery of aged care services in remote areas.

The major financial burden caused by sanctions, and the need to spend significant amounts of money to rectify major deficiencies in systems and services, took a great toll on Frontier Services,  and particularly its people. It was recognised that Frontier Services’ commitment to filling a need in remote Australia was the catalyst for the difficulties. As a growing number of small aged care  service operators proved unable to fulfil demanding accreditation standards, Frontier Services increased the number of aged care services it operated by about threefold.

Past president of the Uniting Church in Australia, Rev Prof Andrew Dutney, told the Assembly that Frontier Services never planned to increase its operations. Continue Reading

Tradie volunteers prepare for Outback Links farm revival

The farmers of remote Australia need your help. Many are facing their third year of drought.

Without good rainfall, there are no crops or less stock to generate income for farmers. If vital equipment and infrastructure wears out or breaks down, there isn’t the money or means to repair it. It’s part of a downturn on the land that can lead to stress and depression.

Frontier Services, a national agency of the Uniting Church in Australia, has been helping people in remote Australia for more than 100 years. Since 2005, their volunteers’ program ‘Outback Links’ has grown to more than 1,000 volunteers who travel to remote properties to assist families through difficult times.

This April will bring a new development in ‘Outback Links’ when 10 young apprentice tradespeople participate in a 6 day ‘Outback Links’ farm revival in the drought-afflicted region around Lightning Ridge in North-Western NSW. This trip is a follow up from one in November 2014 where volunteers worked on 30 local properties.

Volunteers include plumbers, mechanics, electricians and carpenters. Under the supervision of professional tradespeople and host farmers, they will repair broken equipment like tractors, motor bikes and farm machinery, and rebuild infrastructure like sheds and homes.Continue Reading

Barbies for the outback

One of our great Aussie traditions is getting together for a barbie. With Spring just around the corner, Frontier Services is asking people to host a Great Outback BBQ. Get a group of  friends together and raise some money for the people of remote Australia. Whether it’s a  group of five or fifty, host a BBQ at your church, school or in your community and celebrate our  mates in the outback. Frontier Services have everything you need including fundraising ideas, recipes and more.

Call Frontier Services and register your BBQ on 1300 787 247 or visit  www.greatoutbackbbq.com.auContinue Reading

Trekking Lake Torrens

When it comes to setting a personal challenge, Andamooka’s Bronwen West is not the type of person to take things lightly. On 2 August, Bronwen will commence a 20-day hike along the length of Lake Torrens in the heart of South Australia’s outback.

Accompanied by her good friend Susie Barr and brother-in-law Oliver Koehn, the trio will trek the semi-desert country on the western side of Australia’s second largest saltwater lake. They will cover about 400km, navigating a track on privately owned stations about half a kilometre from the lake’s edge. They will scramble over loose rock, clamber up sandy hills, tramp through mud and wade through water.Continue Reading