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Wave of hope

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After many residents in NSW and Queensland were affected by this year’s floods, surf legend Mick Fanning teamed up with HIA and BlueScope to raise funds for flood victims.

Anne-Maree Brown

General Manager of Content

Extreme weather conditions can be life-altering or even life-threatening. This became apparent last summer when the East Coast was bombarded with such a volume of rain that whole towns were swallowed and homes and businesses were left decimated. How did Australians cope? It was similar to pro-surfer Mick Fanning’s own well-documented experience; response and action, followed by self-reflection. For the flood victims, they learnt it’s okay to lean on others when times are tough.

When BlueScope and HIA came together at the HIA National Conference in April, they decided to give away a Mick Fanning signed replica surfboard to raise money for the charity.

As BlueScope’s Qld manager for building markets, Linda Maney explains: ‘For myself and the BlueScope team, Mick typifies what’s great about Australia and the resilience we can show in the face of extreme hardships.’

‘It’s been inspiring to see how he’s used his influence to be a driving force for supporting our local communities in their time of need. After all, our communities are our homes. In keeping with our BlueScope purpose “to create and inspire smart solutions in steel, to strengthen our communities for the future”, it was a privilege to support this fundraiser,’ she says.

Mick Fanning with winner Julie Carroll
Alwyn Even, Julie Carroll, Mick Fanning and Graham Wolfe

HIA’s managing director Graham Wolfe was thrilled that the charity fundraising raffle raised $10,000, ‘Giving back is as much a part of the Association as providing industry information and guidance,’ he says. 

Proudly funded by members, the HIA Charitable Foundation (HIACF) has assisted with charitable and community causes, such as mesothelioma research, shelter for the homeless, and funding into mental health research and improvement, especially in our industry.

‘When the opportunity came up to partner with BlueScope, and provide financial support for those impacted by the recent floods, we knew the cause was a great fit for HIACF,’ he says.

But what about the winner? Well, that’s a story in itself. Julie Carroll and her husband Jim from J & J Carroll Builders were finalists for the 2022 HIA Australian Project Home award, which was part of the HIA-CSR Australian Housing Award. During the ceremony, the raffle – as well as the GIVIT charity – caught Julie’s eye.

‘During the conference and awards night, we enjoyed the housing tours, interesting seminars, a street food market and even a gin bar,’ she recalls. ‘We were having a great time. But when I saw the raffle and found out that the funds were going to flood relief, I had to get involved.’ 

Just before Julie’s name was called out, she cheekily texted her 23-year-old twin sons, saying: ‘Get ready – I’m coming home with a surfboard’. And her prophecy came true. 

‘My sons both live in Kiama,’ she explains. ‘We live in the Aubury/Wodonga region, which is nowhere near the coast. So the surfboard was perfect for them. But there’s only one surfboard, so they’ll have to fight over it!’

Whether Julie’s sons’ surfboard gets used in the sea or just lives in the “pool room”, everyone involved with this charity has been thrilled to support the flood victims. And it has reminded all of us that you never have to be alone.

For more information on HIACF, to make a donation or organise a fundraiser visit HIACF

For more information, visit HIA National Conference.

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