Migrants lose Federal aid
The Pilbara’s migrant community has been left in the lurch after a decision by a national charity to transition out of all their existing government-funded community services.
The restructuring of Frontier Services, a body which channels $450,000 of Federal money to migrant workers in Karratha, Port Hedland and Kalgoorlie, has meant the money designed to help them settle is now in jeopardy.
Respite services in Roebourne have also ceased.
The organisation’s transition general manager Glenn Price said a review of its operations in regional and remote Australia earlier this year led to the decision to transition out of all its existing government-funded community services.
“The upshot of these reviews was that Frontier Services concluded that its future work would be based upon community recovery, volunteering programs, on fundraising and on patrol ministry,” he said.
“In terms of our WA services, the transition will be concluded at the end of the year.
“Frontier Services will continue to honour its commitment to support remote and rural Australia also through its innovative community recovery and volunteering programs.”
A Department of Social Services spokesman said Frontier Services stopped delivering its settlement
■ Norm Watson believes you can never be too old to make a difference, as he journeys 16,000km around Australia on his motorcycle to raise awareness for the Childhood Cancer Association.
For six weeks the 75-year-old motorcyclist will ride around the country solo, unassisted and unaccompanied on his 2009 Honda motorcycle.
Mr Watson said it was a love of motorbikes, a determination to overcome multiple health issues and the chance to honour the memory of his late son which set him on this journey to fundraise for a good cause.
“If you knew what has happened to this body I shouldn’t be here … but I wasn’t going to let that get in the way of this trip which I’ve spent the last two years planning,” he said.
“Our late son Steven was also a motorbike fanatic, he could tell you every make and model of bike on the road and I’m doing this for him too.
“But I’m not doing this trip just for us, I’m doing it for the 64 kids that didn’t make it last year at the Childhood Cancer Association. I want to honour them too.”
Mr Watson said he had been riding motorbikes for more than 50 years, previously circumnavigating Australia for his 70th birthday.
Since leaving Adelaide on September 4, Mr Watson has made his way to Port Augusta, Port Lincoln and Streaky Bay before crossing the border to Norseman, Esperance, Albany and Fremantle before heading north.
Mr Watson stopped in Karratha last Thursday, spending part of the day at the Visitors Centre collecting donations.
He said he had been blown away by the community’s generosity along his journey.
“I have raised more than $6000 in 13 days and have had more than 40 sponsors help me along the way,” he said.
“My fundraising target was initially $10,000 but I expect to exceed that now.
“A lot of the sick kids from the country go to the city for cancer treatment; this money will help them the most.”
Mr Watson said he was excited to return to the North West, in particular Broome where he had resided for 12 years previously, operating a Harley-Davidson tour company with his wife Helena.
After travelling to Broome, he will make his way to the Top End before travelling back down the east coast to Adelaide.
Visit www.nevertooold.org.au to follow Mr Watson’s journey or to donate to his fundraising campaign for the Childhood Cancer Foundation.
Norm Watson is riding 16,000km around Australia for the Childhood Cancer Association.