Bushfire funds to improve warning systems

Bushfire funds to improve warning systems

18 February 2013

published by www.abc.net.au

Australia — Local councils are planning to use money donated to Tasmania’s bushfire appeal to invest in better communication systems.

More than $5 million has been donated to the Red Cross bushfire fund and $700,000 has reached victims so far.

Pat Leary from the committee controlling the money says another $2 million is now being distributed and half of that is for community projects.

“Some of the discussion has already been about future facilities for warning systems,” she said.

The January fires scorched 7,000 hectares in Tasmania’s Central Highlands and mayor Deirdre Flint says her community wants better bushfire communications.

“We’ve had two community meetings at Ellendale and a both meetings they have said the lack of coverage by the ABC Radio was foremost at their minds,” she said.

It would appear as though we can actually get funding for a tower over at Ellendale so if the fire starts again at least people would have that ABC Radio coverage.”

Ms Leary said local councils and recovery groups will soon consult residents about other community projects they might want.

Extra help

Bushfire victims who received money from the Red Cross fund in January may be eligible for a second round of grants.

Home owners can get an extra $10,000 and tenants $5,000, to replace household contents destroyed in the January fires.

People who lost sheds or shacks are not eligible.

Murdunna apprentice builder Lewis Ferguson says he has lost about $10,000 worth of tools and is relying on donated tools.

“The Red Cross donations are only being given out to people who lost their homes,” he said.

“I understand it’s got to be divvied up somehow it’s just unfortunate I don’t fit the bill.”

“It’s very expensive and costly to ensure tools when you’re an apprentice or not working for yourself.”

The committee controlling the funds says shack owners and others may get money from the third distribution next month.

Business grants

Businesses affected by bushfires are being urged to apply for State Government assistance grants.

Economic Development Minister David O’Byrne said the Government has extended its deadline for applications to a jobs fund.

The extension allows bushfire-affected businesses to apply for grants of up to $250,000.

“Not only are they keen to get back onto their feet they’re more than keen to see their companies grow,” Mr O’Byrne said.

“We see this fund as a key opportunity for those businesses and we want to allow them extra time to get their paperwork together.”


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