Veteran Rural Fire Brigade officer Michael Bird with QFES Acting Area Director Ross Stacey at Gympie Airport, where water bombers filled up to
Veteran Rural Fire Brigade officer Michael Bird with QFES Acting Area Director Ross Stacey at Gympie Airport, where water bombers filled up to "air attack" the bushfire at Black Snake when it was threatening properties near Widgee and Kilkivan.

Bushfire assistance extended to Gympie region

FROM the prolonged drought, to bushfires, and now to heavy rain and localised flooding, Wide Bay is certainly copping a serve from Mother Nature’s fury – and we are no strangers to feeling the brunt of her power.

The soggy ground is a far cry from the tinderbox conditions we were suffering through only a few short weeks ago. But while conditions have changed, we know that the recovery period will be ongoing for a long time yet.

Firefighters fight in tough conditions at Black Snake on Sunday as bushfire burns in rugged country.
Firefighters fight in tough conditions at Black Snake on Sunday as bushfire burns in rugged country.

For the people worst-affected by the bushfires around the Gympie Regional Council area, the Morrison Government is providing up to 13 weeks of income support to help them get back on their feet.

This assistance is being provided through the federal Disaster Recovery Allowance and is intended to help those who can’t go to work or run their own business as a result of the fires, or have lost their income and need additional support.

Widgee Hall & Rec Association president Steve Hawkins (left) with Federal Member for Wide Bay Llew O'Brien.
Widgee Hall & Rec Association president Steve Hawkins (left) with Federal Member for Wide Bay Llew O'Brien.

The allowance was extended this week to the Gympie, Gladstone and Ipswich as well as being provided in other bushfire affected areas, and will help keep people in their communities so they can assist with the local recovery.

Firefighters work tirelessly to put in containment lines to control the bushfire at Black Snake.
Firefighters work tirelessly to put in containment lines to control the bushfire at Black Snake.

It comes on top of the assistance that may be available through the jointly funded Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements.

While the bushfires were less extensive in the Gympie and Wide Bay areas than in Victoria and New South Wales, their impact is no less devastating to those people locally who have lost property or the ability to work.

Gympie Regional Council plant operator Shayne Cumner carries water to the Gympie Airport to fill water bombers for their air assault on the raging Black Snake bushfire.
Gympie Regional Council plant operator Shayne Cumner carries water to the Gympie Airport to fill water bombers for their air assault on the raging Black Snake bushfire.

The Australian Government is standing shoulder to shoulder with all communities facing bushfires and will make more assistance available as it is needed.

Claims will be open from Wednesday 22 January 2020. For more information or to make a claim please visit www.humanservices.gov.au/disaster or call 180 22 66.

Gympie Times


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