Wayne Avison and his children Ace, 7, and Emme, 3, have had great support from the Cairns community for places to live and job offers. PICTURE: STEWART McLEAN
Wayne Avison and his children Ace, 7, and Emme, 3, have had great support from the Cairns community for places to live and job offers. PICTURE: STEWART McLEAN

New job, new life: Struggling dad gets back on track

A STRUGGLING single dad forced to live out of his car with his two young kids will today pull on the work boots again after landing a job.

The Far North community opened its heart to Wayne Avison after the Cairns Post reported on his plight, leading him securing work on a cane farm.

Mr Avison came to Cairns from the Kingaroy region in hope of starting a new life with his young children, Ace, 7, and Emme, 3.

After a challenging week forced to live out of a car, things are now looking up for the former Julatten man, who starts work today on the Tablelands.

"I jumped at the chance - I've always wanted to get into farm work," he said.

"When I lived at Kingaroy, I used to drive past them all the time. Seeing the farmers irrigating, I was always fascinated by it."

The offer of work came from Bray Farms owner Carla Bray, who was one of a number of people to reach out to Mr Avison after he shared his story with the Cairns Post.

Ms Bray said she was moved by Mr Avison's willingness to work hard and desire to support his family.

"What got to me the most was he was a dad and had two little kids living in the car," she said. "As a mum I really felt for them.

"During this whole pandemic where so many are struggling for workers, our field of work still needs workers. He told me he's willing to work hard, so I made him an offer."

Mr Avison said he shared Ms Bray's belief in hard work, saying a lack of hard workers was what led to his Kingaroy tree lopping business folding.

"People talk about wanting to work, but when it comes to actually doing the job, they don't turn up," he said.

"I'm hoping to have my work boots on as soon as possible."

The family was also able to move out of its car on the weekend and stay in a unit belonging to a Woree couple.

"The kids are doing good. Being in the unit feels like a home - it's better than living out of a car," Mr Avison said.

Ms Bray said there was accommodation expected to become available for Mr Avison near the Arriga cane farm where he would be working.

Mr Avison said he was thankful for all the support he had received since arriving in Cairns.

"There's just a whole lot of genuine people here, everyone is busy (but) you feel like you can stop and say hello," he said.

SAFETY FIRST

Mr Avison was offered a unit on Murray St by the office of Leichhardt member Warren Entsch, as well as Access Community Housing and Queensland Housing earlier last week. He turned it down due to not feeling safe there with his kids.

"I felt terrible about it - it made me feel like I was ungrateful, that I had to take what I was given," he said.

"When I saw the articles in the Cairns Post and started getting the offers of support, it made me feel so much better, like I'd made the right choice.

"So even though I appreciate their offer, just knowing there's people out there to help, it made all the difference."

Mr Avison's surname was incorrectly reported as Davison in previous stories. The Cairns Post apologises for the error.


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