Regional Express has set aside $1 million in funds to help ease the impact of “the worst drought to hit regional Australia in the last 50 years”.
The airline, which operates commercial flights in the Riverina and MIA, as well as heavy maintenance and pilot training at Wagga Airport, announced late last week that it would establish the ‘REX Drought Relief Fund’.
“The fund will be available to all community groups working to alleviate the impact of the drought and will be in the form of $4 of travel on the Rex network for every $1 raised by the community groups,” the airline said in a statement.
“Small businesses that are providing assistance to victims of the drought will also be eligible.”
The airline will also offer passengers the chance to donate “to a nominated charity involved in the drought relief effort”. The seven-figure contribution follows community efforts across the Riverina and Australia to help farmers.
REX deputy chair John Sharp said the company’s thoughts and prayers were with those facing hardship because of the drought.
“REX has the largest network in regional and rural Australia with 60 destinations, and it behoves us to stand by our loyal regional customers in their time of greatest need.
“Just as in 2005-2007 when we similarly set up a drought relief fund of $2.5 million over three years, REX intends to extend its assistance beyond the current financial year should the drought continue, as long as Rex continues to trade profitably.”
Riverina MP and federal Transport Minister Michael McCormack praised the airline on social media.
“In the worst of times we see the best of Australians. Congratulations to REX for setting aside $1m for drought relief to regional Australia,” Mr McCormack stated.
Mr Sharp challenged other airlines and large corporations to “similarly stand in solidarity with our fellow Australians when they are suffering the most”.
“REX challenges them to follow our example by contributing at least 0.3 per cent of their turnover to drought relief,” he said.
“Should this happen, this will bring in over $1 billion in corporate contributions.”