MATES in Construction this week announced the appointment of a new Field Officer for the Toowoomba, Lockyer Valley and Darling Downs region, funded by the money raised by the 2014 Kokoda Trekkers.

Amanda Edwards, a former Life Line Counsellor, will be taking up her new role in January. Currently an MIC Field Officer on LNG projects in the Surat Basin her role was coming to an end, but MIC have been able to keep Amanda employed thanks to the fundraising efforts of the Kokoda Trekkers.

MATES in Construction CEO Jorgen Gullestrup said “In September 33 Trekkers headed to the jungle of Papua New Guinea for the very first CSQ Kokoda Trek for Tradies. Setting out to raise $100,000 they not only conquered 96km of tough jungle terrain but ended up raising almost $150,000 for MATES in Construction.”

“Amanda Edwards is one of our most experienced Field Officers, and she will be now able to support the local construction industry to look after workers in Toowoomba, Lockyer Valley and the Darling Downs.”

“Field officers are at the heart of MATES in Construction, setting up programs on new sites and training workers. They also support Connectors and ASIST workers on existing sites.”

“There have been a number of deaths attributed to suicide in the Surat Basin in the recent months and the industry is keen to see MATES’ work continue in the region”, he said.

CSQ CEO Brett Schimming said the MATES’ program is an industry lead approach that involves everyone working together to change the culture of the industry.

“CSQ is proud to have supported the MIC Kokoda Trek and it is great to see the money raised is making a real difference. Amanda will be able to continue providing her support for workers in the Toowoomba region and beyond.”

MATES in Construction have trained more than 45,000 construction workers in the Queensland industry in suicide prevention. The program has been credited with saving up to 25 lives in Queensland between 2008 and 2012.