Supporting small rural communities impacted by drought

Rural Aid has announced the winners of their inaugural Ten Town Makeover initiative which aims to highlight the impact of one of the worst droughts in history on small country towns.

The winners are:


Alpha, Monto, Cunnamulla and Gayndah

Learn more about QLD Winners

New South Wales

Walgett, Coolah, Brewarrina and Barraba

Learn more about NSW Winners



Learn more about VIC Winner

South Australia


Learn more about SA Winner

Established within Rural Aid’s Sustainable Community program, the 10 country towns will receive a minimum of $100,000 commitment to support the makeover of the towns over a five-year period.

The $100,000 includes:

  • $10,000 for town leaders to workshop with experts in rural/regional town renewal with the aim of developing a long-term renewal strategy. These facilitated workshops will support the long-term sustainability of the town and local community.
  • $90,000 will be spent on materials for maintenance projects identified by the town leaders, that fits within our scope of work. If available, materials will be sourced locally to support local businesses.

Rural Aid’s Farm Army of volunteers (usually between 50 – 100) will spend a week in the town in the first year bringing a welcome financial injection to the town’s local businesses. Our support over the remaining years will be determined by the leaders of the town once the future plans for the town have been developed.

CEO of Rural Aid, Charles Alder says, “While the focus is largely on the impact of the drought on farmers and their families, equal attention should be given to the impact on rural communities. Small country towns play a critical role in supporting the social and economic fabric of their local communities. This initiative will lift morale and inject much needed capital into the local community

“Small towns have a unique symbiotic relationship with the farms located around them. Farmers rely on their local town for off farm income through employment, farm employees and services from the local doctor, teachers, dentists, accountants and government support staff. Then there’s the small businesses like the local pharmacy, grocery, butcher, bakery, bank and rural supply company. Take these towns out of the equation and the local ecosystem is impacted forever.

“We received over 60 applications and every one of the unsuccessful towns will be supported by Rural Aid in the future.”

Town contacts:

Alpha – Brian Smith, 0437741940

Cunnamulla – Amy Palmer, 0438730180

Gayndah – John Zahl, 0458625005

Monto – Carly Baker-Burnham, 0427675115

Barraba – Lisa Hannaford, 0409921382

Coolah – Sally Edwards,0458774519

Walgett – Denielle Kilby,0447077344

Orroroo – Jodie Boully,0417787475

Lockington – Wendy Sims, 0427868307

About Rural Aid

Rural Aid supports farmers and rural communities in times of natural disaster such as flood, fire and drought. In addition, Rural Aid focusses on supporting the sustainability of regional and farming communities. Its disaster relief program includes the nationally recognised Buy a Bale campaign. Other programs include providing volunteer support to rural towns, musical instruments to regional schools and mental health counselling. Visit www.ruralaid.org.au for further information on these programs and other support for our rural communities.

Media enquiries: Raylee Huggett – 0447 116 757