It has certainly been a very challenging start to 2020 due to the ongoing emergency and recovery bushfire efforts, the latter to continue for many months, and years, yet.
I visited KI last week and plan to use all I learned to improve processes to better prepare us for future such emergencies and disasters. I also have had a day with Blaze Aid who remain assisting on Southern Yorke Peninsula after the fires there nine weeks ago.
It is incredible to have so many volunteers and support people working so hard across the State and country, undertaking a myriad of tasks -- from fire containment and wildlife and habitat assistance to driving fodder relief and fundraising.
As we head for Australia Day celebrations, it is these efforts that best epitomise our true Aussie spirit – banding together to help out those in trouble wherever and however we can.
The news last Wednesday that Yorke Peninsula council area has been included as an eligible LGA area to receive grants of up to $75,000 for farmers and $10,000 for small businesses was very welcome and has come in response to concerns raised with my office.
The additional assistance is being provided through the jointly funded Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements and the money can be used to replace sheds, fences, and stock and assist with clean up.
I’m particularly pleased eligible need includes replacing essential water that has been used for fire-fighting and may soon be needed again as the fire season continues, another specific issue raised by local farmers.
The Personal Hardship Emergency Grants for immediate help for those affected by the Yorketown fire are now closed.
Additional new tax relief measures and the waiving of fees and charges for people affected by bushfires in SA (including Yorketown) announced on 20 January by Treasurer Lucas include the following:
- Ex-gratia tax relief for the stamp duty payable on the purchase of replacement properties and motor vehicles
- Ex-gratia relief for 2019-20 and 2020-21 land tax liabilities for those directly impacted by bushfires in SA
- Putting on hold debt collection of Emergency Services Levy debts
- Service SA waiving the Administration Fee for replacement drivers licences for people whose licences were lost or destroyed as a result of the bushfires
- Owners of registered vehicles destroyed in the bushfires can apply for a refund of unexpired registration as well as other components of registration including the CTP premium, Lifetime Support Scheme Levy and Emergency Services Levy
- The Registrar of Motor Vehicles also has the ability to waive the Administration Fee on the registration of replacement motor vehicles
- Fees associated with purchasing replacement copies of births, deaths and marriages certificates for those who have had these lost or destroyed in the bushfires.
These measures come on top of the immediate relief provided by the Federal Government and State Government for people impacted by the fires, as well as small businesses and primary producers.
I sincerely commend the ongoing work of the Local Bushfire Recovery Committee comprised of community members and agencies staff and headed by coordinator Deb Richardson. Deb will be based at Yorketown for a few more months, working from the Recovery Centre at the SYP Community Hub in Yorketown (33 Stansbury Road; phone 8852 1820; open Mon-Fri 9am to 2 pm).
I also advise that the best contact for more information about how local farmers can assist Kangaroo Island growers with donations of livestock feed/hay is Livestock SA (phone 8297 2299) which is co-ordinating this effort from its Cape Jervis stock pile depot. State Government is paying the freight for the donated fodder.
Active Club Grants
In other news, I am pleased nine local sports clubs have been successful in the latest round of the Department of Sport and Recreation’s Active Club program, each to receive in the vicinity of $5,000 for new equipment/program support.
The successful clubs are Bute Netball club, CYP Little Athletics, Kadina Croquet Club, Kadina Tennis Club, Mallala Netball Club, Minlaton Golf Club, NYP Pony Club, Southern Yorke Archers, and Western United Sports and Community Club Inc.