Bushfire assistance ‘slow’
MORE than two months after the Cobraball bushfires caused more than $20,000 damage to his business, primary producer Anthony Sylvester is yet to see a cent in recovery funding.
The owner of Dynamic Eggs on Thursday hosted a number of politicians at his Lake Mary Rd property where he and others expressed their frustrations at the lack of help that had been offered to bushfire victims.
Among those present to listen to the concerns of a gathering of primary producers was Capricornia MP Michelle Landry.
She was flanked by Senator Matt Canavan, Natural Disaster Minister David Littleproud and National Bushfire Recovery Agency co-ordinator Andrew Colvin.
Mr Sylvester told the entourage about how he, as first officer for the Bungundarra Rural Fire Brigade, put his community and others ahead of his home and business during the Cobraball disaster.
"My property was impacted on the Saturday night and I did not return to see the damage until Wednesday," Mr Sylvester said.
He was too busy working around the clock trying to help save other people's lives and property.
The cost to his business was the loss of 400 chickens, significant fire damage to a shed, and the destruction of about $4500 worth of electric fencing.
"And then you've got the ongoing loss of the chooks that aren't producing because you don't have them," Mr Sylvester said.
He spoke of his frustration at not yet receiving any form of assistance post Cobraball bushfires.
"There's a lack of knowledge (among primary producers) on the process," Mr Sylvester said.
"Pretty much everyone (politicians) says 'oh we're going to help people recover' but no-one actually walks in or contacts you and says 'this is what we can do for you.'
"I've spoke to Michelle (Landry) and I've spoken to Matt (Canavan) and they say the money's there, and all the paperwork sits on the Premier's desk, but it doesn't get signed.
"They (Landry and Canavan) have said they're going to do something, but they are federal and the money is coming from state.
"Where's the local member?
"These guys (Landry and Canavan) have been good enough to come out and talk to us, but why aren't the state doing it?"
Ms Landry also fired a shot at the State Government.
"I think it has been a very slow process getting this money out," she said.
"What did frustrate me is the Premier and the Member for Keppel came out a couple of weeks ago with a big announcement of Category C (funding). Now this had taken them since November to actually get that.
"They had a front page story about it, they'd only lodged it with us the day before, and we'd got that through within days.
"Then it took another week for them (state) to get the Category C, $25,000 grant online.
"And now we announce last week the extra $50,000 and that's still not up there.
"So I think people are getting very frustrated with the process of why it's taking so long."
Keppel MP Britanny Lauga offered this response.
"Dynamic Eggs is within the Category C disaster declared area of Livingstone Shire and, if eligible, can access up to $25,000 in primary producer grants right now.
"Affected producers in the declared area can access assistance by calling QRIDA on 1800 623 946. It is disappointing that Federal MPs would choose to politicise disaster assistance when instead they could have helped affected producers to access the assistance."