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More time for what matters

It was the aim of promotion that brought the Baird family to the central west but their quality of life is what got the major boost.

From the verandah of their Queenslander, while watching their children play with their dogs and their horses graze in the paddock in front of the house, police officers Mel and Clif Baird reflect on their old life.

“I used to get the 1 am text message saying ‘I love you’ and I’d lay there going ‘is he going to be OK’ and you lay there one hour, two hours later going ‘is he going to be Ok’ then you’d get the message going ‘I’m ok all good’.  Since moving out here to Longreach I don’t have that concern,” Mel Baird explains.

Clif looks momentarily uncomfortable, for a man who exudes confidence, he looks to the ceiling and gathers himself.

“You choked me up there, I’d forgotten about that,” he laughs it off.

The risks of the job had nothing to do with why the Bairds took a posting FarOut.

It was a strategic move to advance their careers, and give their children a small community rural childhood for a period.

But the family is no longer aiming to be promoted out, the plan is to retire where they are.

“When you actually look at the soul of the town – everyone gives back to the town,” Clif said while Mel agreed.

“We just really like it – life is too easy, life in general has got its ups and downs, but everything seems to level out in western Queensland,” he goes on to explain.

But the benefits for the Bairds are tangible and measurable too.

Before they moved from the east coast taking the children to school would take almost an hour each way.

“First thing coming out here we were at home by five past three and we looked at each other and went – ‘What do we do now?’” Clif laughs.

It seems strange that a long way from anywhere, everything is so close.

“Thirty seconds we’re at work thirty seconds we’re at the shop thirty seconds were taking the kids to the pool, everything is easy,” Clif said.

Without all the time lost sitting in a car they are spending more time doing things together like sports, horse riding and being involved in the community.

But the big win for Clif is having more time to build and be in relationships. Its enhanced his personal and professional quality of life.

Mel feels the quality of life her family has now is the perfect environment for raising their children, even though it was a very difficult decision to leave the extended family.

“I’m a very family-oriented person so the isolation occasionally does get on your nerves a bit, but we’ve made it work – Facetime is brilliant!” said Mel.

“It’s a great place for the kids, a great environment, very community-friendly we just really like it,” she said.

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