March 9, 2018
Over the past few years, the South Burnett Regional Council has had to organise both Drought Recovery and Flood Recovery barbecues and information sessions to help ease the pain of natural disasters in the area.
This time around it was Storm Recovery events, after wild storms whipped through the region on Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve.
The recovery get-togethers, in Kumbia and Mondure, were designed to get important information out into the community about the different kinds of assistance available, as well as provide an opportunity for farmers to get together, chat and unwind.
southburnett.com.au attended the Kumbia session, which was held on February 25.
A big crowd filled the upstairs supper room at Kumbia Memorial Hall to hear speakers from a number of support groups, enjoy dinner and network.
One example of the pain shared by local growers was the story told to us by local avocado farm manager Ashley Perkins.
His 90 acre avocado farm was lashed by a hail storm with a 100 per cent loss of crops.
The trees were also badly damaged, with about 160 lost completely … blown over by the strong winds.
Ashley’s been working hard on the property since the storm, trimming damaged branches and clearing debris.
He hopes the trees are slowly starting to recover but he’s not sure it will be enough to guarantee a crop next season.
“It all depends on how much growth we can get on before August and September,” he said.
Ashley’s story was by no means unusual on the night, with other farmers talking about the cost of replacing netting and the impossibility of affording crop insurance.
Unfortunately, the South Burnett did not qualify for Federal Government disaster relief despite the loss of crops and damage to homes and sheds because the damage to public infrastructure was less than $400,000.
This made the Storm Recovery dinner even more valuable to local residents.