Past Student Mackenzie Bond 'Winging to farmers'

​​Past Mt Maria student Mackenzie Bond was featured in The Catholic Leader recently, discussing the innovative business proposal she pitched to a panel of industry experts at Charles Sturt University's AgriTech Incubator conference in Wagga Wagga, called Outback Wings. ​Ms. Bond was social justice captain at Mt Maria in 2017, has been passionate about starting Outback Wings since her College days. Mt Maria is very proud of Mackenzie's achievements, and wishes her the best of luck in all her endeavors. 

​Read The Catholic Leader's article on Outback Wings, written by Nicholas Holt, below:

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MACKENZIE Bond is not the average 18-year-old university student. The Mt Maria College alumna has pitched an innovative business proposal, called Outback Wings, to a panel of industry experts at Charles Sturt University’s AgriTech Incubator conference in Wagga Wagga.
The conference aims to spark innovation and economic development for small and medium sized enterprises, while fostering greater participation
of women in entrepreneurial endeavours. 

Ms Bond, who is studying Animal Science at CSU, is developing an enterprise that will provide aeronautical veterinary services to outback farmers across Australia. The initiative was inspired by the Royal Flying Doctors Service that was founded by Reverend John Flynn in the late 1920s. Ms Bond, who comes from rich farming pedigree, has an acute understanding of the diffi culties facing the industry.
“I read an article a few years ago about the 1970s BTEC campaign (Brucellosis and Tuberculosis Eradication Campaign),” she said.
“There were a heap of vet students and vets who were posted in remote areas of Australia to treat all these animals.
“They had small aircrafts. There was a vet named Dr Peter Tree – he was dubbed the ‘flying vet of Australia’– and it was deemed incredibly successful.
“Once the campaign was successful, however, all these vets that were posted in all these towns and areas either retired, or packed up and went
back home.
“So we were left with these areas that had suddenly received vet care services, and then returned back to nothing.
“And it’s remained that way until today.
“Now we’ve reached the point where we’re not set in our habits; we have big livestock enterprises setting up shop, but they don’t have access to sufficient agricultural vet services.”

New biosecurity laws in the agricultural industry will place increased pressure on the accountability of Australia livestock.
“All farms have to record everything that happens on their land so they can trace back the life of an animal,” Ms Bond said.
“If you sit down to dinner to have a steak, the whole idea of having bio-security laws is so that you can trace back the life of that steak.
“It’s better for disease control, and opens the doors for exportation.”
Australia has 60,000km of coastline, and 48 per cent of the country’s total land is zoned for farming and agriculture.
“With these bio-security laws we’re having to up the ante with our animal medicine practices and we don’t have the means to do this because Australia is so big.
“You can drive for twenty hours in Queensland and still be in Queensland.”

If the scheme is successful, Outback Wings will provide same-day services, transporting advanced medical equipment to the livestock.
“I’ve got about twenty-four hospitals that I’ve made a location for and I’ve done my flight paths from that, so we’ll be able to cover every inch of agricultural land and tend to those thirty million livestock animals that need care,” Ms Bond said.

Ms Bond, who was social justice captain at Mt Maria College, is no stranger to the farming community, and said her values were firmly rooted in the soil of her predecessor.
“Coming from a fi fth-generation farming family, my motto is – never look down on someone unless you’re giving them a hand up,” she said.
“That’s how I’ve been raised and that’s what’s shaped what I’m doing with my business.
“In a world where a lot of people are so easily offended, we’re all just trying to fly under the radar.
“People are too scared of being politically incorrect – we are now a society where people are afraid to stand up for our values.
“There’s a real victimhood mentality, and farmers are the complete opposite.
“They don’t want to look like they need help, and I think from where I’m coming from – especially at a time where we’ve been hit by a really bad drought and we’re still trying to get out of it – I’m thinking, ‘what do these people really need?’
“People often say that farmers are proud and don’t want help, but they just need someone who understands them – not people who are there for a crusade.”

Ms Bond said Australian farmers were the most self-sufficient in the world.
“They’re very self-reliant and self-suffi cient, so when the chips are down they need to have
faith to fall back on,” she said.
“People say ‘Australian farmers are the backbone of our country’, but in times like these you realise that there is no backbone to the backbone.
“A lot of the onus falls on farmers and their families, and I think a lot of people are out of touch with what it is really like.”

Ms Bond offered some advice on how Australians could help support this vital industry.
“Every time you walk into a supermarket, read the label on the product you pick up off the shelf and make sure it’s Australian-owned and made,” she said.
“Simple as that.”