“It is something I want to be part of,” Electrical Trades Union national secretary Allen Hicks said at the Rappville Pub on Thursday.
Allen flew from Sydney to announce a $50,000 donation towards a community bus for Rappville.
The Rappville Social committee has been fundraising for a bus to pick up school children to increase student numbers at Rappville Public School and to take older people on shopping trips to Casino.
The 22-seater bus they plan to buy will have disability access and will cost $156,000. They need a further $20,000 to make their vision a reality, social club president Dave Newby said.
The $50,000 is the largest donation so far.
Essential Energy replaced 400 power poles after the fires last year, many of them in Rappville.
The ETU set up a Bushfire Fund and raised money from its 62,000 members. When Allen asked members who needed assistance, only one person put their hand up.
So an email was sent to members asking for bushfire recovery projects to support.
Essential Energy worker Peter Glasby put forward Rappville’s push for a community bus and Lismore ETU organiser Steve Magann told the union about the project.
“I’d never heard of Rappville,” Allen said.
“I grew up in a country town near Mt Isa and I have that sense of community.”
Dave was thrilled about the large donation and said the committee is looking for business sponsors for the remaining amount and for the costs of running the bus.
He thanked Casino Lions Club, Casino Golf Club and Casino RSM for their donations. The ETU donated $40,000 and a further $10,000 came from the Maritime Union of Australia.
This article appeared in the Richmond River Independent, 9 December 2020.