Woolooga fire 2018.
Woolooga fire 2018. Renee Albrecht

Woolooga fire was no disaster, says state

WOOLOOGA'S worst wild fire emergency in living memory was not officially a disaster and victims may not qualify for assistance.

Gympie MP Tony Perrett said yesterday he had written to Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk on Friday seeking urgent help for farmers, landholders and other victims of the blaze, which burned out thousands of hectares and crushed the district grazing economy.

But the Premier had passed the matter on to other ministers, including Agriculture Minister Mark Furner.

Mr Perrett said he was hoping for clarification from Mr Furner today of what aid was available and how people might be able to access it.

Fire fallout at Woolooga.
Fire fallout at Woolooga. Contributed

Mayor Mick Curran said he understood the blaze was not over a large enough area to meet the "Cyclone Debbie" scale of disaster relief requirements and the damage to council infrastructure was not sufficient to trigger automatic action from the state and federal governments under the National Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements.

This would leave individual landowners to apply for individual declarations.

A spokesman for Wide Bay MP Llew O'Brien said varying levels of federal support would apply, in co-operation with the state government, according to the extent of the damage.

Cr Curran said individual properties might still qualify for help under disaster relief arrangements, and this would be the hope for help repairing "hundreds of kilometres of fencing" and "millions of dollars worth of pasture and private sheds."

Gympie businessman Tom Grady will be donating bales of hay at cost and delivering them to the Woolooga Saleyard, for distribution according to Gympie Regional Council recommendations.

"The council takes it from there," Mr Grady said.

Gympie Times


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