The Schultz family from Hughenden: Dad Wes, mum Lyndsey and their three boys Russell, 5, Jack, 2, and Henry, 8 months. Photo: Lindy Hick
The Schultz family from Hughenden: Dad Wes, mum Lyndsey and their three boys Russell, 5, Jack, 2, and Henry, 8 months. Photo: Lindy Hick

KAP wants residents in bed for the bush

ONE baby for mum, one for dad and one for the bush: Hughenden's Wes and Lyndsey Schultz have ticked all three boxes on a local MP's new catchcry to boost population in the west.

The business owners and second-generation cattle station owners are raising their three boys in what they consider a "very supportive and friendly community" - the best part of living in a rural town.

"It's also the local coffee shop knowing your name, it's the local people saying g'day to your kids, looking out for your kids," Mrs Schultz said.

"Most importantly living in the bush is being a part of something. You feel a sense of community here."

Traeger MP Robbie Katter has resurrected an old policy from former treasurer Peter Costello, who famously called for Aussies to have a third baby for their country to tackle an ageing population and declining fertility rates.

 

Robbie Katter. PICTURE: MATT TAYLOR.
Robbie Katter. PICTURE: MATT TAYLOR.

 

For Mr Katter, it's about the numbers: In Mount Isa, the population dropped almost 11% between 2011 and 2016.

In Hughenden, it's dropped almost 9 per cent, Cloncurry 2.4% and Richmond 1.1%.

Major projects in the pipeline will likely see a boost in workers when they get off the ground, including the Sconi mine, Julia Creek Vanadium Project, a beef processing plant and feedlot at Hughenden and the proposed Hells Gate Dam and Big Rocks Weir.

All this progress is why Mr Katter is now pushing for city dwellers to venture out to rural towns and let their growing families thrive as these projects rev up.

Hughenden's Chelsea Smith, a mum of three girls who along with hubby Ashley run Strathroy Station, said she'd love to see more families move to the country.

 

The Smith family of Hughenden: Ashley and Chelsea and children Violet, 6, Ada, 4 and Mary, 1.
The Smith family of Hughenden: Ashley and Chelsea and children Violet, 6, Ada, 4 and Mary, 1.

 

"Bush kids have a realistic outlook on life," Mrs Smith said.

"All the kids out here are kind and courteous and know how to communicate with others which reflects back to the mentality of the bush. They understand the harshness of drought and nature and can accept that too is part of life."

Just over two hours further west, Bob and Claire Lord are raising their 15-month-old daughter Florence while managing three stations and 8000 head of cattle in Nelia, Julia Creek.

 

The Lord family of Nelia, Julia Creek: Bob and Claire with 15-month-old daughter Florence.
The Lord family of Nelia, Julia Creek: Bob and Claire with 15-month-old daughter Florence.

Bob has lived in the bush since birth, spending some time away for boarding school and his carpentry apprenticeship before the call of the country became too hard to ignore.

"Living in the bush is great for young families with a lower cost of living, job opportunities and you are close to your family," Claire said.

They've just built a new hospital at Julia Creek but only have one permanent doctor, limited specialist services and a long drive to access them.

Katter's Australia Party's new policy, which coincides with the birth of Robbie's first child in April, is in response to the government's Pristine Water Policy which he claims stunts development in the midwest.

 

Robbie and Daisy Katter are expecting their first child in April 2020.
Robbie and Daisy Katter are expecting their first child in April 2020.

 

The Katters believe the Pristine Waters policy locks out farmers from using water, prevents people putting in stockwater dams or putting in burrow pits to build roads.

It means more red tape for development which could be off putting to those living or moving to the regions.

And Mr Katter has put his money where his mouth is and will settle in Mount Isa when his child is born, and wants others to explore regional locations to look for opportunity outside major centres.

He said it's important to encourage people to venture out to rural towns where there is plenty of housing and opportunity away from big city congestion and housing affordability issues.

"God knows the government has taken away all the jobs out of there, we've lost railway workers, we've lost all sorts of government services and more and more are fly in, fly out so we're being smashed from everywhere," Mr Katter said.

"The only opportunity left for us to grow that we can control is to have more babies, so we need one for mum, one for dad and one for the bush."

 

Schultz Family | Hughenden

We are Wes and Lyndsey Schultz from Hughenden with our three boys Russell, 5, Jack, 2 and Henry, 8 months.

We own and operate Hughenden Tyre Centre, Richmond Tyre Centre and run Thornton Station, a cattle property 160km south of Hughenden. Rusty will begin school at St Francis Primary School this year.

 

Lyndsey, Russell and Jack Schultz. Photo: Lindy Hick
Lyndsey, Russell and Jack Schultz. Photo: Lindy Hick

 

Wes Schultz with son Russell, 5. Photo: Lindy Hick
Wes Schultz with son Russell, 5. Photo: Lindy Hick

Why you should move to the bush:

There are so many opportunities in the bush.

The bush needs services and people to deliver them in all fields. People to get in and do.

You will meet friends for life and have great fun all while making a great living.

It also has very affordable housing prices so you can own something and not be spending your life strapped with a mortgage and never progressing.

 

The Crozier family – James 42, Rachel 41, Eve 9, Adley 7 and Jimmy, 2 from Cranellie Station in Hughenden. Photo: Supplied
The Crozier family – James 42, Rachel 41, Eve 9, Adley 7 and Jimmy, 2 from Cranellie Station in Hughenden. Photo: Supplied

 

Eve Crozier, 9, on horse Sonny with Lane Keough at the Richmond Mini Campdraft in 2019. Photo: Cassie Jessop.
Eve Crozier, 9, on horse Sonny with Lane Keough at the Richmond Mini Campdraft in 2019. Photo: Cassie Jessop.

 

Crozier Family | Hughenden

We are James and Rachel Crozier with our three kids, Eve, 9, Adley, 7 and Jimmy, 2. We are the owners and operators of Hawkeye Helicopters. James (AKA Snow) is a helicopter mustering pilot and Rachel is a stay at home mum. The children attend St Francis Catholic Convent.

Why you should move to the bush:

We enjoy a safe and authentic place in this world to raise our children. Our children live most of their lives outside in fresh air, learning to appreciate the simple things in life and work beside us.

While droughts and flooding rains, it seems, are now part of the "family" in northwest Queensland, we wouldn't live anywhere but the bush. We love the easy pace, warm community atmosphere and everyday bush family routines that make our property our home.

 

The Smith family of Hughenden: Ashley and Chelsea and children Violet, 6, Ada, 4 and Mary, 1.
The Smith family of Hughenden: Ashley and Chelsea and children Violet, 6, Ada, 4 and Mary, 1.

 

Smith Family | Hughenden

We are Ashley and Chelsea Smith of Hughenden, with our three girls Violet, 6, Ada, 4 and Mary, 1. Ashley is an occupation grazier on Strathroy Station and Chelsea is a part time teacher aide and also runs her own jewellery business. Violet is in grade one at Cameron Downs State School, 27km away down a rough dirt road.

Why you should move to the bush:

If you want to bring your kids up in a place where they can learn to appreciate the little things, they can feel secure by playing by themselves and not have to worry about who is around then this is the place. There are activities and events on every weekend so you will never be bored. You can see people as much or as little as you like.

 

 

The Lord family of Nelia, Julia Creek.
The Lord family of Nelia, Julia Creek.

 

Lord Family | Julia Creek

We are Robert and Claire Lord, raising our 15-month-old daughter Florence on Kilterry Grazing in Julia Creek. Bob is part owner and full-time manager of 8000 head of cattle over three stations and Claire is a full-time mum, bookkeeper and part-time station hand.

Why you should move to the bush:

The bush has great community spirit and plenty of work opportunities to learn new and transferable skills. It's a great opportunity for young families with a lower cost of living and job opportunities, it's great to bring up your children as you remain with and close to your family.