Life gets going after the bushfire

Life gets going after the bushfire

1 February 2006

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Australia — Slowly but surely, life is returning to normal in the Grampians after the bushfires.

Mail was delivered into Halls Gap, Moyston, Pomonal, Laharum, Wartook and Brimpaen yesterday for the first time since the fire started.

Primary schools in Willaura and Moyston will reopen today, while primary schools in Halls Gap and Pomonal remain closed until further notice.

But with tap water still not suitable for drinking, parents were told that schools relying on tap water would provide bottled water.

The Grampians bushfire has burnt 130,000 hectares — or 47 per cent of the park — but has stopped spreading. Steep and rugged terrain was slowing the construction of a containment line that was expected to be completed by tomorrow.

“We are very close to having it controlled,” the park’s ranger-in-charge, Graham Parkes, said. “But things do happen.”

Meanwhile, things were slowly getting back to normal for fire-ravaged communities in the Grampians region.

The State Government will use the 2003 Alpine bushfires as a model for recovery for the Grampians in an effort to bring visitors back.

After meeting local business leaders and taking a tour of the park, Tourism Minister John Pandazopoulos yesterday said more money would be given to another local taskforce.

“There is a great sense of confidence,” Mr Pandazopoulos said, adding a wealth of expertise was gathered after the Alpine bushfires three years ago.

“We have a lot of knowledge in how to rebuild tourism and have learnt a lot and documented all that.”

Mr Pandazopoulos said a person would be employed “immediately” to promote the area.

A State Government taskforce, led by Treasurer John Brumby and including six cabinet ministers, will meet for the first time today to help the communities affected by the bushfires.


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