A new partnership with Queensland Rugby League (QRL) provided the QPS with an opportunity to engage face-to-face with rural Queensland community members to promote policing opportunities in country Queensland for young men and women.
The Central West Queensland town of Winton saw an influx of people to its township over the weekend for the Arthur Beetson Foundation Shield Outback Junior Challenge Carnival. Among them were representatives from the QPS Stock and Rural Crime Investigation Squad, Police Recruiting and Crime Prevention who delivered messages to the young players and the community.
The partnership was developed and has received support of Commissioner Ian Stewart and QRL Chair Peter Betros who recognise both organisations provide for “many backgrounds, many pathways and many opportunities” to rural Queensland and remote farming communities.
Stock and Rural Crime Investigation Squad Detective Inspector Mick Dowie said the QPS faces challenges in the attraction and retention of police officers and support staff working to serve rural and remote communities.
“We saw this partnership with the QRL as an opportunity to recruit people ‘from the bush to work in the bush’,” Detective Inspector Dowie said.
“Diversity is one of the foundations of the QPS and a diverse workforce reflects the community to which they are sworn to serve and protect. People from rural communities are important assets to the organisation, bringing with them a wealth of knowledge and experience on rural living.
“The QPS is committed in providing the same service to everyone across Queensland, not just in the major centres, and by using these types of community events we are able to engage and educate rural members on job opportunities, crime prevention messages and discuss key issues of concern in their communities.
“This partnership using QRL events as an entertainment platform provided a great opportunity to engage with the kids to not only help promote interest in law enforcement as a career choice, but also nurture positive relationships between them and the QPS,” Detective Inspector Dowie said.
The carnival saw junior rugby league players from Northern and Southern rural Queensland come together to play representative football against opposition of similar standard. The Northern team was mainly made up of players from the Mount Isa Junior Rugby League competition, while the Southern teams were players from the townships of Winton, Longreach, Barcaldine, Blackall, Charleville, Augathella, Quilpie and Mitchell.
At a dinner presentation on Saturday night, the players for the 14s, 16s and 18s teams were announced who will travel to Coolum on the Sunshine Coast on the weekend of June 24-26 to represent the country team in the Glyn Rees Cultural Exchange City-Country Carnival.
Arthur Beetson Foundation Shield Outback Junior Challenge Carnival in rural Queensland