A “heavy-attack” fire truck purchased with donations from US reality television star Kylie Jenner is on its way to Burketown on the Gulf of Carpentaria.
- Ms Jenner donated $270,000 during the last bushfire season
- The money helped purchase the truck and digital bushfire mapping tablets
- The truck will be used to respond to crashes, fires and floods
Ms Jenner donated $270,000 to the Rural Fire Brigades Association of Queensland (RFBAQ) during last summer’s catastrophic bushfires.
The money was put towards the truck and digital bushfire mapping tablets that help firefighters navigate difficult terrain offline.
Multiple other local, national and international donors, including schools and businesses, also helped fund the truck.
RFBAQ general manager Justin Choveaux received a call in January from Ms Jenner’s New York publicist, Christy Welder, offering a donation.
The money was transferred the following day.
Ms Welder said Jenner, 23, was “honoured” that her donation was continuing to help the RFBAQ and it was very important to her to “donate across Australia during that time”.
Mr Choveaux said Ms Jenner offered “a very generous donation of US$200,000”.
“So when that [was] converted to Australian dollars it was $270,000 so we went ‘well that’s fantastic’,” he said.
“With that extra $70,000, we’re building a truck for Burketown and a truck for Birdsville, [so we] put the extra money towards that.
“So her name [will go on the truck], along with everybody else who has put $20 or $50,000, or $300,000 into this truck.
He said the truck would provide much-needed emergency assistance to the Gulf town.
“The first available help is over five-and-a-half hours’ drive away on a good day, so what we needed to do was come up with a platform that allowed the locals to be able to defend themselves with what they have to have,” Mr Choveaux said.
“Burketown itself has a couple of hundred residents, but it covers a huge geographic area in the Gulf of Carpentaria.
“There’s a hospital, there’s a school, there’s a shop, there’s a petrol station, there’s a bulk aviation store of over 150,000 litres of aviation fuel and if something goes wrong in Burketown, it’s the locals who fix it.”
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services Assistant Commissioner John Bolger said tourism was increasing in the region and the truck would ensure travellers and locals alike are safe.
“There are road crashes, there are wildfires, there are floods, so an asset like this to a community like that just makes that whole region a whole lot safer place to be,” Mr Bolger said.
“This is a spectacular day for Far North Queensland.”
“This demonstrates how wonderful donations from people right around the world can deliver for such a small, isolated community.”
The “heavy-attack” truck will service bushfires, road crashes and other emergency rescue situations.
The multi-purpose road truck will help the rural community of Burketown service people across hundreds of kilometres.
A second truck is being built and will be deployed to Birdsville in outback Queensland.