Qantas and Caltex to give $3.1m in drought relief
QANTAS and its customers are donating $3 million to Rural Aid to help Aussie farmers battle through the worst drought on record.
Meanwhile the nation's leading transport fuel supplier Caltex is donating $100,000 to the same charity and setting up an ongoing drought assistance package.
Qantas will immediately donate $1 million to Rural Aid to help fund hay bales, water trucking, groceries and mental health counsellors for farming communities.
This will be followed by appeal initiatives in airport lounges and on Qantas and Jetstar aircraft to raise another $1 million with the help of customers. The airline will then match the funds raised, with the goal to provide Rural Aid with a grand total of $3 million by the end of the year.
"Qantas started in the outback. Many of our crew live there and we have a lot of farming families who supply everything from beef to broccoli that we serve passengers," Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said.
"We feel we have a duty to help these communities who are doing it so tough."
To help raise the funds Qantas will host two fundraiser flights from Sydney to Longreach and Tamworth in October, with the revenue given directly to Rural Aid. Qantas is also supporting its employees who join Rural Aid's Farm Rescue program and volunteer their time repairing farming equipment, fixing homes and building fences on rural properties around Australia.
Caltex's drought assistance package includes $200 StarCash fuel vouchers to farmers registered with Rural Aid; a contribution to the charity's fuel bill; a pledge to donate $1 for every 20 litre Delo product sold from October 2018 to October 2019; and farm army assistance via a volunteer workforce of Caltex employees, their family and friends.
"Caltex understands that the need for fuel is critical to rural operations. So as well as the donation to Rural Aid, and volunteer assistance, we will reinvest in the community through the sales of our new lubricant range," Caltex Australia general manager of business to business sales Brad Phillips said.
"We also know that the mounting short-term debt faced by some of our customers is a big contributor to the stress experienced during tough times. We will help alleviate that stress and manage cash flow by extending our credit terms for some of the worst affected rural customers."
Meanwhile ANZ bank announced yesterday it would set aside $130 million in low interest loans to support farmers next season, and would also reduce interest rates for variable business lending by 1.00% for farmers in drought-declared areas.
The interest rate reduction will apply for the next 12 months to family and small farming enterprises that currently hold variable rate business lending with ANZ, effective from September 1.
"We hope our relief package provides the support our farming customers need at this difficult time," ANZ group executive Australian business and private banking Mark Hand said.
"ANZ is committed to Australian agriculture and we remain committed to supporting farmers through the drought."