Industry mates go around Australia in 21 days
THE mental and physical hardship experienced by some industry workers has prompted sparky Joshua Rigney to start a campaign.
The Tannum Sands resident works at Boyne Smelter Limited, Rio Tinto Alcan and other industry projects around Australia.
He says he has seen the remoteness of heavy industry construction projects and felt the pressures of FIFO.
"I know shift work. I know the FIFO strain and I know what guys living in camps and spending major chunks of their life away from their friends, family and community go through," he said.
So, along with his friends Simon Black and Kel Payne, Mr Rigney will align with Mates in Construction to raise money to support industry workers.
The trio will drive around the country in a '91 Corolla hatchback, talking to industry workers, raising awareness and collecting donations that will go towards a charity trek in Africa next year.
"The plan came about just weeks ago," Mr Rigney said.
"I've been in the industry since I finished school 10 years ago. I know of mates that have taken their own lives," he said.
"There's a stigma that we're meant to be the tough guys - to not talk about emotions and the pressures.
"We didn't have an outlet, but Mates in Construction gives that to us."
They set off on Tuesday from Gladstone.
The three will head north and around the country anti-clockwise over 21 days, finishing back in Gladstone on January 4.
"The Corolla is at the mechanics at the moment getting the tick of approval for the trip," he said.
"Of course we're going to face challenges."
"But we're tradesmen and well travelled so it's definitely achievable.
"We need to support the people who are helping to develop our nation's infrastructure in rural Australia," he said.
The Observer will follow their trip with a blog and updates.
16/12 - Gladstone -> Townsville
17/12 - Townsville -> Mount Isa
18/12 - Mount Isa -> Tennant Creek (or a bit further north)
19/12 - Tennant Creek -> Darwin
20/12 - Darwin -> Lake Argyle
21/12 - Lake Argyle -> Broome
22/12 - Broome -> Karratha
23/12 - Karratha -> Carnarvon
24/12 - Carnarvon -> Perth
25/12 - Perth -> Margaret River
26/12 - Margaret River -> Lake Cowan
27/12 - Lake Cowan -> Nullabor National Park
28/12 - Nullabor National Park -> Adelaide/Murray Bridge
29/12 - Adelaide/Murray Bridge -> Warrnambul
30/12 - Warrnambul -> Devonport
31/12 - Devonport -> Melbourne
1/1 - Melbourne -> Canberra
2/1 - Canberra -> Sydney
3/1 - Sydney -> Byron Bay
4/1 - Byron Bay -> Gladstone