By CHER JIMENEZ
A CALL was made and Gippslanders quickly responded.
Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund president John Mitchell said the charity had received $3,034,968 in cash donations by 11am on January 14, two weeks after an appeal in response to the bushfires in East Gippsland was launched.
Mr Mitchell said the fund, established more than four decades ago to provide immediate financial assistance during emergency crisis in the region, had already approved 568 applications for cash donations.
He said GERF works with all six councils across Gippsland, who validate and assess each application and make a recommendation to the fund based on the charity’s set criteria.
“We try and get that money to the families as quickly as we can,” he said.
Mr Mitchell said while the early response to the appeal from Gippslanders had been positive, he stressed the need for more donations.
“The challenge in this particular event is going to be the scale of how many properties are impacted and the likely requirement of our fund,” he said.
GERF was established in December 1978 and provides cash assistance to applicants whose primary place of residence has been impacted by an emergency.
“That means say if you live in Melbourne or Sydney and you’ve got a holiday house in Mallacoota our fund won’t provide you any emergency cash assistance, but we will for the Mallacoota residents or the farmer whose fences had been impacted,” he said.
GERF’s goal is to raise $5 million.
Businesses outside of the Gippsland region have started supporting the appeal with GERF committee members also in contact with the local business community to encourage them to jump on board.
Donations to GERF can be made via Paypal at www.gerf.org.au, at any branch of the NAB across Australia or in person at Alan Wilson Insurance Brokers at 40 Argyle Street, Traralgon.
If donating at any NAB branch please let the teller know that you would like to put the donation it to the GERF account. All donations over $2 are tax deductable.
People will be given a receipt that will be posted.
Donations can also be made by sending a cheque or money order to Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund, PO Box 508, Traralgon, Victoria 3844.
Residents affected by the fires should contact their local council municipal recovery manager who will assess the applicant’s situation and make a referral to GERF where applicable.
◗ Agriculture Victoria
Contact 136 186, Agriculture Victoria provides technical and decision-making support to assist farm businesses recover from bushfires.
◗ Department of Health and Human Services
DHHS is onsite at a number of relief centres in Gippsland.
The program provides financial assistance for eligible Victorians.
Contact Victorian Farmers Federation on 1300 882 833 or email email@example.com if you need emergency fodder for livestock. Alternatively you can also request assistance on the Need For Feed website.
◗ Australian Government Disaster
Information on disaster assistance, visit www.disasterassist.gov.au
◗ Emergency livestock water
Contact East Gippsland Shire 1300 555 886.
◗ Rebuilding fences
BlazeAid provides assistance for reestablishing fences. Contact Kevin Butler on 0459 444 111.
◗ Pet, horse and livestock shelter
East Gippsland Shire has arranged animal shelters, relief centres can also cater for pets, there is emergency livestock agistment at Bairnsdale Saleyards.
◗ Farm Household Allowance/Farmer Assistance Hotline
Contact 132 316 or visit
◗ Farm Debt Mediation
Contact Agriculture Victoria 136 186.
◗ Counselling Services
Rural Financial Counselling Service, contact 1800 686 175.
HOW TO DONATE
◗ Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund
Donations can be made via Paypal at gerf.org.au, at any NAB branch, or in person at Alan Wilson Insurance Brokers at 40 Argyle Street Traralgon.
◗ Gippsland Farmer Relief
Drop off donations to the GRF depot at unit 1 20 – 22 Stratton Drive, Traralgon. Phone 5174 0217
For more information, visit the Gippsland Farmer Relief Facebook page. Need For Feed To donate, or to volunteer, visit needforfeed.org
◗ Heyfield Lions Club Supporting Gippsland Farmers
Donations can be put directly into the account BSB 633000 ACC 151118437 Ref SGF
◗ Gippsland Horse and Stock Safe – Bushfire Assistance
To offer an evacuation paddock, donate fodder or equipment or make a donation, visit the Gippsland Horse and Stock Safe – Bushfire Assistance Facebook page. $7 buys a square bale, $30 buys a bag of feed, $70 buys a round bale Account name – Fire Relief BSB 062692 ACC 18595889 All money is directly going to purchasing fodder.
◗ Victorian Bushfire Appeal
Donations to the Victorian Bushfire Appeal can be made online at www.communityenterprisefoundation.com.au or at any Bendigo Bank branch.
◗ Victorian Farmers Federation
Fodder request and donations,
1300 882 833.
◗ Wildlife Rescue and Protection Incorporated (Gippsland):
Visit online at