Driving into the line of (ex) fires

We’re going direct! Inspired by initiatives such as Empty Esky and Beers for Bushfire Relief, Slade Group’s bushfire response is to help the businesses and people directly hit by the loss of property and commerce. We’ve made available our two company cars on the weekends so our people can do a road trip with their friends or family and visit a fire affected area throughout 2020. Slade foots the bill for a night’s accommodation and a tank of petrol filled up in the region visited. While we’re spending our hard-earned, we’ll be helping hard-hit businesses recoup some much needed tourist dollars.

We’ve put up a huge map of Bushfire Affected Areas in the office and we’re posting photos of everyone’s trips – in hard copy and on our social media.

Here’s a story fresh from the Grampians, when Debbie Patsiolis hit the road last weekend.

My trip to the Grampians

To get the #SladeBushfireResponse program started, I booked a trip to the Grampians, took the Slade car, and set-off with my boyfriend Jon in tow last weekend.

The first thing we noticed were all the government bushfire warnings on the highway… Are you ready for fire? It really made us think about how different life is for communities who are on high alert for bushfires. Growing up 20 minutes out of the city and living in inner Melbourne for my whole life, it’s hard for me to imagine my family in a situation where we’d even have to think about leaving our home.

We arrived in Halls Gap late afternoon on Saturday to wet weather (no complaints, the rain is much needed). Heading into town, we stopped at the general store to get breakfast supplies and some snacks. We ordered take away fish and chips from the local, which we enjoyed in our cute little cottage for the night, surrounded by kangaroos and emus.

Sunday morning we visited the Grampians National Park and went for a hike to the beautiful Mackenzie Falls and Fish Falls. While there were a few burnt trees, the park was still beautiful, with lots of greenery. It was nice to see so many people out hiking enjoying nature, and a lot of people too, especially as lunch time approached.

On the way back we stopped in town again and bought pies from the local bakery. Then the most Australian thing happened to Jon – a kookaburra swooped as he was taking a bite and stole a chunk of his pie! Ditching the pie, Jon opted for a less kookaburra-enticing sausage roll. We finished with delicious locally made ice cream from the ice creamery in Halls Gap, filled up the car and made our way home.

On the way back we stopped at Beaufort in the Pyrenees. Whilst most things were closed (being Sunday in a country town), the antique store was open. A vase and a chair later, and a few dollars lighter, we continued our journey home. Given the vast loss of income these local businesses suffered in December and January, we were happy to contribute to help the locals get back on their feet.

Now I’m looking forward to hearing about everyone’s adventures over the coming months.

Do you have a good news story to share? We’d love to hear about what your or your workplace is doing to support bushfire affected regions.

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