Benches to be a permanent reminder of serious community issue

Published: 19 May 2022

The installation of a shopping centre bench wouldn’t normally involve the centre manager and a regional mayor, but this isn’t any ordinary bench – it’s a red bench.

Red benches are an initiative of the Red Rose Foundation in collaboration with Local Governments and community organisations across Australia.

This latest red bench, the fifth in the Mackay region, was launched today at Caneland Central by Mayor Greg Williamson and centre manager Simon De Barro.

Mayor Greg Williamson said council had been working to install red benches as a permanent reminder that domestic and family violence occurs in all communities.

“Domestic and family violence is still one of the leading reasons for daily police callouts in our region, so we are definitely not immune from this community blight,” Mayor Williamson said.

“In addition to serving as a reminder of this issue in our community and sparking conversation about everyone’s role in ending domestic and family violence, our region’s benches also include the addition of a QR code,” he said.

“The QR code links people directly to a domestic and family violence information page hosted on the Mackay Regional Council website.”

Caneland Central centre manager Simon De Barro said a lot of locals and tourists visit the Centre.

“Having a red bench here provides an opportunity to create greater awareness, not just during Domestic Violence Prevention Month (May) but all year round,” Mr De Barro said.

“Supporting the Red Rose Foundation initiative encourages those visiting to discuss this prevalent issue,” he said.

“Importantly, it also links community members to local and national support services via the QR code and floor graphics.

“Caneland Central has been a member of the Mayor’s Domestic Violence Taskforce since 2017 and we continue to partner with likeminded organisations on initiatives like this one that work towards making the Mackay community a safer place for all.”

As an initiative of the Mayor’s DV Taskforce, council have already installed two red benches in council outdoor spaces, one at the Bluewater Quay and one in the Civic Precinct.

The mayor said council was delighted to be able to partner with other local organisations, including Lendlease, Sarina Bendigo Bank, ZONTA and Mackay Women’s Services, to have additional red benches installed.

“We have plans for additional benches to be rolled out at significant community sites over the coming 12 to 24 months,” he said.

For more information on domestic and family violence support services and council’s commitment to domestic and family violence prevention, head to