As the South Coast community recovers from the recent bushfires that caused so much devastation over the summer, Member for Gilmore Fiona Phillips is asking for people impacted to reach out if they cannot access available support saying "A range of Australian Government support is available such as funding for local government, payments to those that have lost their homes and loans for small businesses that have lost income."
However, Mrs Phillips is regularly hearing from local people struggling to access these services or raising concerns about gaps in the help that is available.
“I am very concerned that local people on the South Coast are telling me they can’t access the help and support that is available for bushfire recovery,” Fiona Phillips said.
“Since the fires began in November, I have spent countless hours talking with people in the community about what they need and helping them access support. What I am hearing is that many people are falling through the cracks,”
In the parliament over the last two weeks, Fiona Phillips shared many of these stories, such as Rae from Runnyford, Rob from Burrill Lake and Katrina from Kangaroo Valley. The Gilmore MP said she plans to tell more of these stories over the coming weeks.
The Federal Shadow Cabinet recently met in Batemans Bay so that they could see first-hand the impact of the fires. During Question Time in the following week, Labor asked the government several questions directly related to their experience.
“That is why I have invited the Prime Minister to also come and hear directly from local people – so that he can appreciate the scale of what we are dealing with here,” Fiona Phillips said.
“I don’t want to see any local person struggling to cope after the bushfires and not receiving help, so I have appointed a dedicated Bushfire Liaison Officer in my Nowra electorate office. I am encouraging anyone who needs help or would like to tell their story to contact me,” she said.
Anyone struggling to access help and support following the fires is encouraged to contact Fiona Phillips’ office on 4423 1782 or email Fiona.Phillips.MP@aph.gov.au.
A list of financial support is also available here.
Above: Fiona Phillips was in Moruya today to welcome the Rapid Relief Team as they delivered 369 bales of hay, driven from WA to the South Coast. donated by Rio Tinto to both fire and drought-affected farmers in Bemboka, Cobargo, Bodalla, and Moruya.