Less than two years after Toyota Australia first came on board as one of Heart of Australia’s proud corporate supporters, and having seen the impact that our service delivers for people living in the bush, Toyota Australia has more than doubled its support for Heart of Australia by providing us with four new Toyota Landcruisers and one Toyota HiAce commuter vehicle.
Heart of Australia will use these vehicles as part of its modest, but vitally important support vehicle fleet. Dr Gomes said the vehicles would play an essential role in the delivery of medical services to people in outback Australia.
“The Landcruisers will assist us in many ways. They will be our pilot vehicles for our full-sized mobile medical clinic trucks – HEART 1 and HEART 2. They drive ahead of our oversized trucks, transporting our doctors and crew as well as alerting our drivers to any upcoming hazards or wide loads approaching from the opposite direction. This helps to ensure our team, our staff,trucks and our medical equipment arrives safely at our next destination,” Dr Gomes said.
The support vehicles also help us to maximise the time the heart trucks are available to deliver medical services in the community. They allow us to perform logistical tasks and to transport our crews and supplies to and from the trucks at the start and end of rotations, removing the need to divert them to Brisbane for crew collections.
Dr Gomes said Toyota Australia’s timing was perfect.
“When Toyota came on board early last year, we were only operating our first heart truck, HEART 1. Since then we have brought on a second, larger clinic – HEART 2, a mini-clinic, HEART 3, and our next full-sized mobile clinic, HEART 4 will be launched in mid-2020.
“With each new full-sized clinic comes the need for more support vehicles. The decision of Toyota Australia to double their contribution from two to four fully maintained Landcruisers could not have come at a better time for the communities who will benefit from our services.
In addition to the Landcruisers, Toyota Australia has also contributed a brand new Toyota HiAce commuter vehicle that Heart of Australia will utilise as part of its brand new NextGen Medics program currently in development. The program will see Heart of Australia taking groups of medical students to the bush to witness the delivery of mobile specialist medical services in rural locations first hand. It will also allow them to engage with local health providers and experience the community spirit that living in the bush has to offer.
“Heart of Australia is committed to ensuring equitable access to health care for Australians living in rural and regional communities. That means more than delivering specialist services. It means supporting GPs with professional development opportunities, and it means helping to ensure a steady stream of future doctors who are eager to take up positions in the bush,” Dr Gomes said.
“Heart of Australia is very excited about the potential of our future NextGen Medics program, and our brand new Toyota HiAce bus that will deliver the students to and from the heart trucks, and around the outback towns.”
This significant boost in the Toyota partnership would not have been possible without the support of the individual Toyota dealerships, and the support of General Manager for the Northern Region, Jing Tadeo and Senior Manager of Regional Operations Jason Viney.
Jason Viney said the decision to more than double Toyota’s support, less than two years into the partnership was an easy one to make.
“We believe the work that Heart of Australia is carrying out in support of outback families is nothing short of inspirational. Since we first came on board the number of heart trucks has grown and the number of towns and communities they support has grown. Heart of Australia has now seen over 8,000 patients and saved over 350 lives since it started operations. That’s definitely something we want to support and be a part of.”
“Toyota Australia has received such strong support from families and businesses from rural and remote Queensland since we first started selling Toyota vehicles in Australia in 1963. By supporting Heart of Australia, we hope to give back to the communities that have chosen to drive Toyota vehicles for so long.”
Frasers Livestock Transport has supported many organisations during its 75 years of serving rural Australia, and according to the family company’s Managing Director, Ross Fraser (OAM), Heart of Australia is one of the most important.
Ross first learned of Heart of Australia while listening to the Country Hour on ABC Radio.
“I heard an interview with Dr Rolf Gomes talking about his mission to deliver specialist medical services to rural and regional Australia. I quickly realised it was a wonderful initiative and something that Frasers could and should get involved in.
“Rolf mentioned he was looking for a tyre company to help out with the cost of tyres required for his customised mobile clinics. Being a transport company, we have some great relationships with tyre companies, so I gave Rolf a call and offered to help.
“We helped connect Rolf with the great team at Bridgestone, who were as eager as we were to become a part of the initiative, and came on board as Heart of Australia’s dedicated tyre partner.”
Frasers had helped Heart of Australia to secure a fantastic tyre partner, but they didn’t stop there.
“We phoned Rolf back once the tyres were sorted and asked ‘now what can Frasers Livestock Transport do?’ We quickly worked out that one of the things we had in common was drivers. We understood, perhaps more than most, the critical role that drivers play in delivering goods and services to people in rural Australia. So we committed to making a financial contribution each quarter to help towards the cost of drivers wages.
“Rolf had come up with a unique concept that would help support the people in the bush, and he had the drive and determination to make it happen. We wanted to help.
“We knew first hand that country people often wait too long to get their health issues checked. Before Heart of Australia existed, you had to travel to the city for specialist care, and that’s pretty daunting to do. People in the city don’t always appreciate how difficult it is to get to the city, but there’s a lot of hurdles you have to negotiate. You need to find someone to mind your property and your stock, and with the drought, many people can’t afford to employ someone to do it. Then there are all the costs of travel and accommodation.
“That’s why the work of Heart of Australia is so important. Bringing the doctors and all their equipment to the doorstep just makes good sense. The people living and working on the land need our help and support to stay there, and it’s incredibly reassuring for the people who live in the communities Heart of Australia visits to know the doctors and equipment are there when they need it. It’s just one of the way we can support them to stay on the land and in their communities.
Ross said Frasers could not be more pleased with their decision to support Heart of Australia.
“Our staff let us know how proud they when they see our logo on the heart trucks in the communities where our staff and customers live and work.”
“As a family company, dedicated to supporting rural communities, it is an honour to be a part of the work being done by Heart of Australia.
Frasers Livestock Transport is celebrating its 75th birthday this year – a major milestone for any company. The business was founded in 1944 by Ross’s parents: Charles and Edna Fraser. The transport empire is now owned and operated by Ross and his two brothers Les and Peter, all great supporters of Heart of Australia.