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Durras Community Welcomes Funding Commitments For Bushfire Response Actions

The Durras Community Association (DCA) has welcomed today’s announcement by local Gilmore MP Fiona Phillips and Senator Murray Watt, Shadow Minister for Disaster & Emergency Management, that, if elected, a Labor Government will commit $221,000 to improve the resilience of power infrastructure at South Durras. This funding will relocate underground the power cable to the local NBN fixed-wireless tower, and also enable the replacement of 30 timber power poles between South Durras and the Princes Highway with composite fire-proof poles. These supply power to South Durras, North Durras and Depot Beach. "The Durras community has campaigned long and hard for these critical infrastructure upgrades since the 2019-20 bushfires, and we are delighted that this funding commitment has now been made to better protect our community. We thank Fiona, Murray and Labor for their support and for listening to our community" said the Association’s President, Dr Trevor Daly. "Emergency resilience and response actions should be above politics and receive bipartisan support, so our Association has asked Liberal candidate for Gilmore, Andrew Constance, if a Liberal/National Government will make a similar funding commitment for Durras if elected. As yet we have not received a response", said Dr Daly. The DCA has also welcomed the announcement by Fiona Phillips that a Labor Government will commit $750,000 to protect the Mount Wandera telecommunications site which is critical for the entire Eurobodalla region. This funding will also replace timber power poles with more resilient composite poles to better protect emergency services radio networks, ABC radio and television, and mobile phone services, all of which were cut off during the previous bushfires when power poles were burnt. These new funding announcements come on top of recent commitments by both Labor and Liberal candidates to fix the mobile phone blackspots on the Princes Highway between Batemans Bay and Ulladulla. "Maintaining internet and mobile phone coverage is critical for regional communities to be able to receive emergency warnings, keep track of nearby bushfire fronts and maintain communications during fires, storms and all types of emergencies. Maintaining the electricity supply is also essential to small communities like South Durras which rely on rainwater tanks for water supply. Without power you can’t access water to protect your house from bushfires unless you have a generator or petrol fire-fighting pump", said Dr Daly. "While the DCA welcomes these commitments, the Association wants to ensure that the next Federal Government actually delivers on its promises without delay and we see some real onground actions completed as soon as possible. "Similar power and communications upgrades are also required for vulnerable communities in many other areas including the south coast. "Local communities like ours have had enough of empty promises, lame excuses and political spin from underperforming Governments and Ministers. "Key infrastructure upgrades for improved emergency resilience of at-risk communities are essential to protect our lives and homes. Works like these also create regional jobs. Our community will keep monitoring progress on these commitments in future to ensure they are actually delivered’ concluded Dr Daly.