Loddon Shire Mayoral Column

Published on 13 January 2020


Support for communities impacted by bushfire

As a result of the devastating bushfires across Victoria, there has been a generous outpouring of support from people wanting to help. In response, the Victorian Government has launched a new fund dedicated to helping those Victorians impacted.

The fund is in partnership with the Bendigo Bank Community Enterprise Foundation and the Salvation Army and is aimed at providing practical support to meet the most urgent needs of local families. 100% of donated funds will go directly to communities in need.

The appeal will also address the most immediate priorities of communities, including the rescue and rehabilitation of local wildlife. Victorians can donate by visiting vic.gov.au/bushfireappeal.

The Australian Red Cross is also accepting financial donations for its Disaster Relief and Recovery fund. The Red Cross has been supporting evacuees at the frontline, facilitating food and water provisions and providing registration services. To donate to the Red Cross visit https://www.redcross.org.au/.

The Red Cross, along with other agencies, has asked people to donate cash not goods at this time. Managing clothes and other items takes resources away from the frontline and puts more trucks on our roads. Agencies do not have the storage capacity or the personnel to manage goods. Providing cash will give communities the flexibility to support local business as they begin to get back on their feet.

Meanwhile the ACCC is warning people that scammers are using the disaster as an opportunity for financial gain. To ensure that you legitimately help people and animals affected by bushfires, direct your donations to the two agencies mentioned above or the Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund https://www.gerf.org.au/.

I also urge you to be wary of cold-calling or direct message requests for money as well as crowdfunding requests. These need to be checked to ensure that they are legitimate and registered. You can report scammers to the ACCC by calling their dedicated bushfire related phone number 1300 795 995 or visit the website https://www.accc.gov.au/update/bushfires-and-scams.

The Victorian Farmers Federation is coordinating fodder relief for farmers affected by bushfires in Gippsland and Upper Murray. The VFF is also managing offers of agistment. To register assistance, please call the VFF on 1300 882 833 or visit their website https://bit.ly/2Qtq87L.

Grants for local sporting clubs

The Sporting Clubs Grants Program opened on 6 January. Sporting clubs across Victoria are encouraged to apply for this State Government funding to help support clubs at a grassroots level. The grants provide funds to upgrade equipment, buy new uniforms, boost administration capabilities or improve training for officials.

The grants program aims to make sport more accessible and inclusive as well as boost participation and stimulate local economies. For more information on the grants and how to apply, go to sport.vic.gov.au/grants-and-funding/our-grants/sporting-club-grants-program.

2020 EzyTow Malibu Australian Masters

The Australian Masters is the premier event of the Bridgewater Water Ski Club and runs across the Australia Day weekend from Friday 24 to Sunday 26 January 2020.

Some of the country's best performers in water skiing, slalom, trick and jump will compete. Slalom and Jump are held out the front of the Bridgewater Public Caravan Park and Tricks is run up stream opposite the boat ramp.

The event is an opportunity for the whole family to enjoy a fun day out and make the most of the revitalised Loddon River Foreshore at Bridgewater.

Understanding barbeque rules on total fire ban days

On days of Total Fire Ban, no campfires or solid fuel or chemical fuelled barbeques may be lit. However commercially manufactured gas or electric barbeques are permitted, providing they are set in a permanently fixed structure or placed in a safe and stable position.

It is the individual’s responsibility to know if a Total Fire Ban is in place prior to lighting a campfire or barbeque. Even if not a Total Fire Ban day, use common sense and don’t light a fire if it is hot or windy.

Parks Victoria has produced a handy brochure which answers the questions “Can I or Can’t I?” about campfires and barbeques in Victoria’s forests and parks which may be downloaded at https://bit.ly/2LWOxQH and there is plethora of useful information on the Forest Fire Management website https://www.ffm.vic.gov.au/.

Did you know

The Bridgewater Water Ski Club was formed in September 1960 and is one of the oldest water ski clubs in Australia. The Masters event in January attracts national and international skiers who use the competition to prepare for major events such as the Moomba Masters. The weekend brings an influx of visitors to the town of Bridgewater and surrounding areas.