The Welcome Mate campaign is the joyful, toe-tapping, good news story that is capturing the hearts of Australia. In south west Queensland, the people of the Balonne Shire have come together to rejoice in the recent rain that has washed the dust off and made their rivers run once again.

In true bush style, on a shoestring budget, they have created a parody of Tourism Australia’s $15 million Kylie Minogue Matesong campaign.  Balonne Shire Mayor Richard Marsh said rather than attracting the Brits down under they are hoping it will give Australians a good idea for their next holiday destination.  The star studded cast of the St George Matesong includes Lucy Sevil, a local jillaroo who had never worn make-up before but was up for the challenge as she channelled her inner Kylie, Balonne Shire Council Safety Advisor Ben Gardner, who returned to work with a holiday beard and was coerced out of his high vis gear to play Australian comedian Adam Hills.

Produced by country music singer Josh Arnold, the region’s impressive wildlife, interesting locals and iconic pubs all feature against the backdrop of a vast landscape just waiting to be explored. Cr Marsh said the lighthearted music clip captures the indomitable spirit of the people who live, work and play in the region’s seven river towns. “It’s one of those tunes you just can’t get out of your head and it really tells our story of resilience and hope,” he said. “Our region is throwing out the welcome mat and inviting everyone to come on a road trip adventure to the beautiful Balonne during what is the very best time of year to visit.” Welcome Mate Packs will be given to the first 500 travellers from outside the Shire who visit the St George Visitor Information Centre and say “I’ll be your Mate”. The packs include a $20 Buy Balonne Gift Card, discount vouchers, local merchandise and regional information.

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