Writen by Mark Coulton MP -
My thoughts go out to the many communities that have been battling devastating bushfires
over the past week. The footage on television is very disturbing and the reports of damage and destruction are almost incomprehensible. Australians are renowned for helping each other in tough times and this is evident with the thousands of Australians who are volunteering at the present time to help in the bushfire
effort. I thank all these people for their extraordinary efforts.
It is going to take some time for those affected to recover from this natural disaster. There has been significant damage caused and reports of stock losses continue to rise. Both the Federal Government and State Government have been swift in offering assistance to affected communities. As of last Friday, 37 Local Government Areas in NSW were declared disaster zones. Note that the Lachlan Shire in the Parkes electorate is included on this list.
This declaration will allow primary producers and small businesses to access loans of up to $130,000 at a concessional rate for those in urgent need. There are transport freight subsidies of up to 50 per cent on the carriage of livestock and fodder. There is also financial assistance for councils, trustees of parks and reserves, sporting clubs, churches and voluntary non-profit organisations
, and stamp duty relief for motor vehicle owners who lost their vehicles in the fire.
The combination of record high temperatures and strong winds has created dangerous conditions where bushfires
can quickly get out of control. If you live within a few streets of bush land, preparing a bushfire survival plan is the best way to protect the lives of your family and to protect your property. Visit the Rural Fire Service website www.rfs.nsw.gov.au for information about developing a bushfire survival plan and also for advice on ways you can best prepare your home to survive the threat of a bushfire
. Preparing an emergency kit that includes items like a battery-operated radio, first aid kit, torch and any medications your
need is also a good idea.
With the warm
weather expected to persist it is important to always take the advice that’s been given by the emergency authorities as there can be outbreaks of fires where they are not expected. People must always be cautious to ensure that they are safe and their families are safe. Take heed of fire warnings and never take risks.
It is a harsh reality of life in the Australian bush that we are vulnerable to drought, flooding rains and bushfires
. However, when these natural disasters occur we are very blessed to have so many volunteers willing to step up and help us overcome them. I urge everyone to remain vigilant as the hot and dry weather is expected to continue over the coming weeks.