Coordinating support

As the clean up from the Cobbler Road fire begins, the focus turns to the needs of the farmers hardest hit.

A group of emergency response organisations gathered in Yass on Wednesday to arrange what would happen now the fire was under control.

The Department of Primary Industries (DPI) was the body put in charge to coordinate the response.

“We like to assist community to do the things they feel need to be done to help with their recovery,” Dick Kearins from the DPI said.

A survey has been sent out to every impacted landholder so they can assess the extent of the damage.

Once the surveys are collected, the DPI can get a clear picture about what needs to be done across the whole area.

The rural support worker said there would be help available for social support, information about financial assistance and general help to get back on their feet.

Representatives from the Ministry of Police and Emergency Services, the provider responsible for coordinating recovery from such incidents, were in town to outline their role.

Feargus O’Connor, executive director at the ministry, said the focus would be on what the community needed.

“We haven’t come here to put a cookie cutter… on how things work… We’ve got a few things in place to help.”

As the fire crossed from the Harden Shire into the Yass Valley Council area, the two have had to work together.

“The fire’s affected two local government areas [and] it looks like there’s been a proper coordination across the two.

“That fault line seems to have not hampered [the efforts].”

The immediate concern for farmers at the moment is feeding surviving stock.

A fodder donation register has been set up through the DPI and local agents Delta, Elders and Landmark.

For more information call 1800 814 647, Delta on 6226 2622, Elders on 6226 1500 or Landmark on 6226 1777.

The next step will be to rebuild fences destroyed in the fire. Volunteer group BlazeAid is moving into the area next week and hopes to have dozens of volunteers on hand to put up fences.

Council is seeking volunteers to cook meals for the BlazeAid workers - call 6226 1477 register your willingness.

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