HELPERS: North Burnett Councillor Kevin “Lofty” Wendt, Kim Corfield, Jean Berrie and Mark Barrett, QRAA liaison officer at the flood recovery forum.
HELPERS: North Burnett Councillor Kevin “Lofty” Wendt, Kim Corfield, Jean Berrie and Mark Barrett, QRAA liaison officer at the flood recovery forum. Contributed

Flood recovery centre taking up to 300 calls a day

ONLY a small number of primary producers attended a flood recovery forum in Biggenden last week, but those who did were able to access a wide range of advice from representatives of QRAA, Agforce, Burnett Inland Economic Development Organisation and others.

QRAA client liaison officer Mark Barrett, based in Bundaberg, said his organisation, which administers the $25,000 grants to small businesses and primary producers, had been receiving between 150 and 300 calls every day to its 1800 phone number.

As word has spread about the great job the volunteers are doing repairing fences, more requests for help are coming in.

"In February, I spoke face-to-face with 165 groups of people in connection with assistance available to assist in flood recovery," he said.

"Some of the comments being quoted recently regarding the availability of grants and loans have been inaccurate, and we urge people to contact us, and to not self-assess."

North Burnett regional councillor Lofty Wendt said the number of BlazeAid volunteers working in the area would grow to about 24 on Monday.

"As word has spread about the great job the volunteers are doing repairing fences, more requests for help are coming in."

The BlazeAid workers are staying at the Biggenden showgrounds and are enjoying an evening meal prepared by a roster of several dozen Biggenden district residents.

Catering co-ordinator Vi Rackemann said her helpers at the show hall kitchen had also cooked meals for Burnett Mary Regional Group which has visited the town twice to help with the clean-up of the surrounds of the Biggenden landfill facility and the banks of Degilbo Creek.

Mrs Rackemann said the volunteers came from all walks of life, including basketball players, doctors and a physiotherapist, and were very appreciative of the meals.

"They would clear away and wash their dishes before their dessert course was on the table."

Even residents of the aged care ward at the Biggenden Health Centre took a turn on the roster, and enjoyed making lemon delicious dessert for one of the evening meals.

Cr Wendt said alternative arrangements were being made to accommodate the BlazeAid members from April 6, when the showgrounds would begin filling with an expected 280 motorhomes from the Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia Solos' Network which will visit for a week.



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