HEPBURN Shire residents are being encouraged to lend a hand to farmers affected by the recent fire at Dereel, south of Ballarat.
Liberal Member for Western Victoria Simon Ramsay recently toured the fire-hit region with Victorian Premier Denis Napthine.
“This region has been devastated by fire,” Mr Ramsay said.
“Homes have been lost and fences, sheds and other assets also destroyed in the fire.
“For many farmers, their stock food supply was also lost in the blaze, leaving them with limited alternatives.
“I urge anyone with excess hay on their properties to consider donating it to the Dereel farmers who now face real hardship.
“Some landowners may be able to provide one bale, others many.
“But I know whatever can be donated is desperately needed and will be warmly received.”
Hay donations can be delivered to the Dereel CFA site.
Anyone wanting more details should contact Jill Evans from the Golden Plains Shire on
0427 633 255.
Mr Ramsay said he was also concerned about telecommunications blackspots in the fire area that resulted in critical communications difficulties during the fire emergency.
“Without proper phone service, residents were left without communications during much of this emergency,” he said.
“Locals have been calling for improvements to the services for a long time.
“It is a real worry that it has taken such an extreme situation for their message to be heard.
“I support Premier Napthine’s decision to take this matter up with Telstra.”
People seeking emergency support or advice about their eligibility for financial assistance under the Victorian Personal Hardship Assistance Program should contact their local council or the Victorian Bushfire Information Line on 1800 240 667.
Information about the Personal Hardship Assistance Program is also available at www.dhs.vic.gov.au/emergency