Financial boost for local fireys

AMAZING community generosity has ensured the Rural Fire Brigades hardest hit by the devastating Cobraball bushfire near Yeppoon have received money to help them get back on their feet.

Many members of local brigades including Woodbury, Maryvale, Cooberrie, Bungundarra and Adelaide Park suffered personal losses to their own properties while they bravely battled to save their neighbours from the flames.

Local Rural Fire Brigade Association Queensland Representative Robert Lang said there had been an outpouring of community generosity in recent weeks with multiple fundraising efforts and sizeable donations collected to pass on to these brigades.

“The community put $2,440 in our Rural Fire Brigade Association buckets on New Year’s Eve – very, very willingly I might add,” Mr Lang said.

“$1,500 came from the Capricorn Country Music group down at Emu Park at the Pine Beach Hotel.

“The Rivernight Market Group gave us $1,200, the Criterion Hotel meat tray raffles contributed hundreds of dollars and a couple of private donations from around the place as well.”

FIRE FIGHT: Cawarral Rural Fire Brigade member Nathan Jung looks keeps an eye on the Cobraball bushfire, burning in the early stages near Old Byfield Road.
FIRE FIGHT: Cawarral Rural Fire Brigade member Nathan Jung looks keeps an eye on the Cobraball bushfire, burning in the early stages near Old Byfield Road.

On Saturday morning, leaders of the Rural Fire Brigade Association Queensland, President Ian Pike and General Manager Justin Choveaux, visited the Capricorn Coast to tour the confronting 12,000HA fireground aftermath for themselves.

After their grim tour, they had the positive experience of visiting Rockhampton’s Empire Hotel to meet delegates from each of the five impacted brigades to hand over the fruits of the community’s generosity – cheques for $1,150 each.

RFBAQ General Manager

Justin Choveaux said since the first of September, when the fire season started in Queensland, the RFBAQ has received $1.4 million in donations and had paid out $1.5 million.

Mr Choveaux said they had a total of seven different grants that his association was responsible for issuing.

RECENT BLAZE: This image were captured of the Cobraball bushfire burning in the early stages near Old Byfield Road.
RECENT BLAZE: This image were captured of the Cobraball bushfire burning in the early stages near Old Byfield Road.

“We’ve got some cheques there for hardship grants. We do a number of grants for brigades,” Mr Choveaux said.

“If you’re a brigade member and you’re suffering hardship, you’re entitled to a hardship grant.

“So far this fire season, we have done 36 hardship grants and that adds up to $98,000. $126,000 in normal grants.

“We’ve collected and given $359,000 for bushfire mapping tablets.”

He said every truck brigade would receive a tablet for free.

Keppel MP Brittany Lauga meets with Rural Firefighters who worked hard to save properties from the Cobraball Bushfire.
Keppel MP Brittany Lauga meets with Rural Firefighters who worked hard to save properties from the Cobraball Bushfire.