Petroeum firms $200,000 donation applauded
By EMMA O'NEILL
A NORTHERN Rivers charity has profited from the red faces at Ballina Petroleum.
The company has handed over a cheque for $200,000 to Southern Cross Lads Inc. The money will enable Southern Cross Lads to purchase land for a driving school in the area.
Ballina Petroleum is still under investigation by the ACCC after it admitted to having cheated customers of approximately $150,000 over the past three years by mixing unleaded petrol with its premium unleaded product. The donation was made by Ballina Petroleum after the company announced it would try to compensate the Northern Rivers community.
"When I found out how much they were going to give us I was elated. But it wasn't until I told the other members of the group it really became emotional," Southern Cross Lads chair Don King said.
Southern Cross Lads was formed eight months ago by the families of four teenagers who were killed in a car accident near Broken Head last year. According to a member of Southern Cross Lads, Rob Wells: "The driving school will be for everyone. There is nothing like it in the Northern Rivers. It will be a place where you can learn everything from advanced driving skills to basic car care."
"The donation is Ballina Petroleum's way of showing remorse and paying back the community," Ballina Petroleum representative Peter Wolff said.
"We also wanted to give the funds to a Northern Rivers community group that would really benefit. Southern Cross Lads also has ties with our industry, so they really matched the criteria."
Southern Cross Lads is currently searching for a 20-hectare block of land on the Northern Rivers to build a driving school.
"Before this donation the driving school was like a pie in the sky," Mr King said.
"We had raised about $20,000 over the last eight months, but we were a long way off being able to purchase the land. This is really going to be the catalyst," he said.