A truck carrying two commuter buses – one 12-seater and one 20-seater – left Perth today for Fitzroy Crossing, to be donated by leading logistics provider Centurion Transport to the Marra Worra Worra Aboriginal Corporation (MWWAC).
Behind the wheel on the 2373km haul will be Centurion’s co-founder Carl Cardaci, 72, and former truck driver and now WA Senator Glenn Sterle.
The commuter buses will also carry sporting equipment donated by Velocity Truck Centres, and more than 100 kindness kits donated by Dandelions WA to be used by Marninwarntikura Women’s Resource Centre (Marnin).
Senator Sterle has also arranged for 60 king sized mattresses donated by Bedshed to be included in this trip.
Cardaci and Senator Sterle visited Fitzroy Crossing recently and met with community leaders from MWWAC to learn more about the community following episodes of anti-social behaviour.
“We asked the leaders to tell us about their biggest current needs and they told us they needed help to transport people from communities in the Fitzroy Valley into town for after school and after dark activities, cultural gatherings, educational classes, and sporting events,” Cardaci said.
“We knew pretty much straight away that we could help out. We got our contact books out and made some calls.”
As well as supplying the commuter buses, Centurion is also covering fuel and maintenance costs for as long as the community needed the support.
Shaun Fowler, Marri Worra Worra Aboriginal Corporation interim-CEO, said the timing of the donations came at the right time.
“This is meaningful support from Centurion, Velocity Truck Centres, Dandelion WA, and Bedshed and are more than mere gestures. It’s something tangible for the communities in the Fitzroy Valley and the benefits will be long-lasting,” Fowler said.
“We will work with our young people to have them design artwork which will be painted on the buses as a demonstration of what they mean to them and to our communities.”
Fowler said the Marra Worra Worra Aboriginal Corporation (MWWAC) would use the commuter buses for a self-funded night patrol service to engage with young people in the Fitzroy Valley and for other activities during the day.
“It’s important to acknowledge the strong partnerships between MWWAC, Marnin, Centurion, Velocity Truck Centres and Bedshed and others in coming together to address local concerns,” Fowler said.
“We’re facing our problems and finding solutions instead of talking about them and looking for others to give us the solution.
“Centurion’s willingness to become involved in this way is incredibly meaningful to the communities in the Fitzroy Valley. And Senator Sterle has shown his ongoing commitment to the Valley and what can be done when you round up a group of strategic thinkers and logistics experts who know how to get things done.”
The trip has an ironic note, too. Cardaci and Senator Sterle, a former TWU organiser, are more used to sitting across the negotiating table rather than side-by-side in a truck cabin. Today, both acknowledge each other’s commitment to building better communities and the ability of the transport industry to bring people together.
“I know Glenn can drive a truck and a hard bargain. I also know his heart is in helping others, and that struck a chord with me when we visited Fitzroy Crossing recently,” Cardaci said.
In a Facebook post earlier today, Senator Sterle thanked all the project partners and retierated how much he was looking forward to getting out on the road again.
“It’s a huge effort but it’s practical, it’s what the community wants and hopefully we see some great outcomes from it,” Sterle said.
“And lucky me, part of the deal was that I get to drive the brand new Freightliner up to the Kimberley with everything loaded on the back! Looking forward to getting behind the wheel and delivering this important load to Fitzroy.”