The annual Melbourne Trailwalker event has been postponed due to the continuing clean-up following a devastating storm that swept through the Dandenong Ranges in June, and ongoing uncertainty around COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions.
Oxfam Australia Chief Executive Lyn Morgain said while those two factors meant it would not be possible to hold the event as scheduled from 8 to 10 October, new dates – 25 to 27 March – have now been locked in.
Key parts of the Melbourne trail are located in the Dandenong Ranges National Park, which was heavily impacted by severe storms on 9 June. With large parts of the park currently closed, Oxfam is unable to undertake necessary planning for delivery of a safe event.
Ms Morgain said the recent Victorian Government announcement about an extension to Melbourne’s current lockdown was another consideration in shifting the date.
“The extensive damage and ongoing risk of falling trees means we are unable to guarantee that the track will be clear and safe for our participants in time for the event,” Ms Morgain said. “This, coupled with the potential for restrictions in Victoria to continue, makes it impossible for us to proceed with the event in October.
“In a time of many cancellations, we know that this will be disappointing news for many of the participants who have been training hard towards this event – we are equally disappointed.
“But our paramount concern is always the health, safety and wellbeing of participants, volunteers and staff, and that’s why we had no choice but to postpone Melbourne Trailwalker.
“We are now working towards putting on a fantastic event early next year.
“Oxfam supporters are at the heart of all we do, and we are so grateful for the hard work of participants, volunteers and staff involved in the event, which raises vital funds to help improve the lives of people living in poverty.
“This support is needed now more than ever, with vulnerable communities and people in Australia, our region and around the world continuing to be the worst hit by the ongoing Coronavirus crisis.”
Ms Morgain said participants and event partners were being notified of the decision and organisers were working with relevant authorities to make the necessary arrangements.
Participants will have the option of rolling over their registration and fundraising to the March 2022 event or seeking a refund of their registration fee.
Oxfam Trailwalker, which has been held in Australia for more than two decades, raises money for Oxfam’s work tackling poverty and inequality around the world through donations to teams of four who undertake the challenge of a 100km trek. More than 90,000 people have taken part since the event started, raising more than $95 million to tackle poverty.
Updates on the events and more detailed information can be found on the Trailwalker website.
For further information, please contact Lily Partland on 0418 118 687 or firstname.lastname@example.org