Rotary to fire victims’ aid

Rueben HaleCountryman
Volunteer Vince Costantino and Peter Gillett helping to build new fences on one of many farms.
Camera IconVolunteer Vince Costantino and Peter Gillett helping to build new fences on one of many farms. Credit: Countryman

Rotary has been making hay while the sun shines for the victims of the fires which recently devastated the South West.

The club has been delivering aid to fire-ravaged farmers since the rampaging fires tore through about 414 agricultural properties in the Yarloop, Harvey and Waroona, burning an estimated 30,850ha of agricultural land.

Countryman reported last month that Pinjarra club had donated $20,000 to aid farmers, with $10,000 aside for animal welfare and the balance has been put towards a mobile trauma counselling unit. Other Rotary clubs had also raised an additional $10,000.

Pinjarra Rotary club member and Pinjarra cattle farmer Geoff McLarty said support for farmers had been overwhelming since that time.

“We have raised almost $200,000 since we first began the appeal,” he said.

“Over the last three weekends we’ve also had about 200 people from Rotary and other affiliated groups constructing about 30km of fencing on a total of about 20 farms.

“Demand for the trauma mobile counselling unit has also remained strong and we’ve put another $30,000 of the funds raised towards that very important service.”

Mr McLarty said animal welfare remained a critical issue on fire-affected farms and the club had negotiated a deal to purchase cheap feed from Rio Tinto.

“Our treasurer Peter Gillett, who is a hay exporter, has negotiated to buy 1000 tonnes of Rhodes grass, which Rio grow on their Marandoo site from the mines de-watering process. The grass is nutritious, with an average protein content of about 10 per cent,” he said.

“Hay prices have increased from about $60 to $100 a roll, so the grass is a very cost effective option an is available in easy-to-manage cubes and can be delivered directly to the farm.”

Meanwhile, WAFarmers said people’s generosity in helping fire impacted farmers had exceeded expectation.

The WAFarmers Fire Appeal fund has raised in excess of $100,000, with $38,657 of that coming through the dedicated GoFundMe page .

“We are thrilled with the response to the WAFarmers Waroona-Harvey Fire Appeal,” WAFarmers chief executive Stephen Brown said.

“It has exceeded our expectations, especially so soon after the devastating Esperance fires, with significant cash donations and several hundred thousand dollars’ worth of hay and feed having been donated towards the fire-affected areas in the Shires of Waroona and Harvey.

“The funds continue to come in, and are now in the process of being distributed to those farmers in need.”

Rotary Farms Fire Appeal

Rockingham Rotary Club (Charitable Trust) BSB: 633-000 A/C: 142631100

WAFarmers Waroona-Harvey Fire Appeal http://www.wafarmers.org.au/ donate-waroona-harvey-fire-appeal/

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