Monto, QLD
Date:3rd May 2020 to 9th May 2020Postponed
Town Contact: Carly Baker-Burnham
I am from this town and want to volunteer
Carly Baker-Burnham from Monto said,
“When Tracy from Rural Aid called, I had to sit down. It was a feeling of brief disbelief, followed by absolute joy and elation. The feeling of hope rose from my stomach to my heart. Monto is so grateful for this opportunity; it will bring such a buzz of energy and positivity. We really need it, like most communities in rural Australia. We are one of lucky ones!”
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People are the heart and soul of this community. No matter what natural and manmade events come our way, Monto stands strong, connected and resilient, though at times, we honestly just want a break,” Monto community member.

Monto, our very special place in Australia, where we connect, share and belong. Monto has a unique spirit and it is a safe and peaceful place to live. It is naturally beautiful with stunning hills and plateaus, and many creeks and waterways that provide the life force for animals and humans alike. Its natural beauty is matched only by its sense of community. In each other’s eyes, we see our community, we see Monto and we hope for a bright and sustainable future.

The Monto Region

Established in 1924 and with a district population of 2308, Monto was the first town in Queensland designed under town planning techniques. A quaint rural town located in the North Burnett Region, approximately 2.5 hours from Bundaberg by road, Monto’s beef cattle production, tourism, dairying, pig production and cropping industries play vital roles in the town’s economy and identity.

Covering just over 19,700 square kilometres, the North Burnett region is diverse, with the landscape moving from fertile farmland to rugged geographical formations.

Surrounded by the smaller communities of Abercorn, Bancroft, Bukali, Cania, Cannindah, Coominglah, Cynthia, Glenleigh, Kalpowar, Langley Flats, Monal, Moonford, Mulgildie, Mungungo, Selene, Splitter Creek, Tellebang, Three Moon, Rawbelle and Ventnor, each adding their own unique histories that makes up the region around Monto.

This area of the North Burnett has a lot to offer locals and ‘tree changers’ to live, work and play. For visitors, it’s the perfect place to unwind while exploring all that the region has to offer.

Monto’s history

As a small country town, and close-knit rural community, Monto has persevered through its fair share of struggles, proving the people’s resilience. Whether it be the inland rail closure, the Butter Factory shutting down, farmers being hit with poultry and dairy deregulation (in the peak of Monto’s dairy industry, there were over 420 registered dairies, whereas today there are only three in operation), the logging mills at Mulgildie and Monto closing, and one in two hundred year floods to boot. Monto has endured eight declared natural flooding disasters, including a cyclone, and three drought declarations in the last 10 years.

Now more than ever, this small town is in desperate need of a town maker over to bring back hope and lost spirits in these turbulent times. You only need to look at the available evidence: North Burnett Natural Disasters documentation and Monto Reflects on Mine Closure video to see the new threats to its long-term future that this beautiful town is facing. Added to this is a double blow of the Goondicum Mine closure and in recent weeks, the North Burnett being drought declared again with Monto enduring this challenging situation.

Collaborative research between Burnett Catchment Care Association (BCCA) and North Burnett Regional Council (NBRC) revealed that the most recent severe weather and flooding event of October 2017 for the North Burnett region resulted in $4.5M loss in income, along with approximately $1M in infrastructure damage alone.

The flow on effect of the flooding events and drought declarations prior to 2017 can be seen in the decline in employment during 2011 and 2016. The number of people employed in North Burnett region decreased by 119 and the number unemployed showed an increase of 42. In the same period, the number of people in the labour force decreased by 77. Agriculture, forestry and fishing (the largest industry employer) was the most severely affected. In a low populace regional area, these are alarming statistics that apply directly to the years when the region was disaster declared.

Monto – a lot to offer

“The things that make me different are the things that make me.” —’Piglet’ Winnie-the-Pooh

This region has a lot to offer and Monto is no exception. Supporting video Advocating for the North Burnett, prominently displays and showcases, along with Our Region by Mayor Rachel Chambers, its potential and need for help due to loss of funding. The town has always had the dream of revitalising the central business district with beautification to raise the morale of our local businesses and attract or increase economic throughput.

Monto is no different to any other town that has endured natural disasters, but it’s the people within the community and their passion that sets it apart from others. Passion about future generations and ensuring the liveability for residence. Monto has a history that is rooted in farming and is resilient to adversity.

We are passionate about our humble and strong community and our whole town contributes to create a secure future for Monto and district. Monto is a diverse community consisting of generational and rural life choice residents from various cultures, life experiences and ages who choose to live and work together to improve the viability of our community.

Monto has a large number of interest and community groups that are run by volunteers where community have invested in making their passion become a real activity. This demonstrates the essence of generosity and dedication to growing the community.

The Community evening workshop

They sizzled, they scribbled, and they saw the beginnings of their five-year project plan start to come together in a three-hour interactive community workshop at the Monto Showgrounds recently.

The evening workshop finished off a day of talks with different groups around the town discussing what is important to the community to retain, regain, start and change.

Formulated plans will provide a road map for towns as part of the Rural Aid 10 Towns initiative.

Monto was the first of Rural Aid’s 10 Towns to start workshopping and planning for their community’s renewal and long-term sustainability.