Report from meeting 29 March 2011

At a meeting on 29 March attended by 30 residents, including more than half of those who lost their homes, it was unanimously agreed that we should continue the fight for a fair go.
Lake Clifton has been treated very unequally and we believe unfairly by the bureaucratic process which sets a dollar figure on natural disasters. It seems ludicrous to us that people in identical situations in other parts of WA and Australia are getting financial support that is not available to our people.
We know it will be a long fight – perhaps as long as two years, but we will fight!!
A petition is being organised and will be circulated around the district very soon.
Lots of people at the meeting are going to write to their MPs and the Premier who has said that it does seem unfair but has not moved to help us. The more people who write, the bigger the impact so even if you could not attend the meeting, please join in and send a letter. If you want suggestions on how to write such a letter, leave a comment on this site or call Tracey.
We are still trying to get some definitive information on what has and has not been included in the calculation of costs and will try every possible legal avenue to get this information.
Watch this site for news and be prepared for the long haul.
A fair go is all we are asking.

Meeting Tuesday 7:00 pm 29 March 2011

Why were the Lake Clifton fires NOT a natural disaster??

We are told that we do not meet the criteria for declaration of a natural disaster because it did not cost the state $240,000

People in Kelmscott and other areas that were burnt on 5 February can access VERY substantial benefits that Lake Clifton people cannot get – but the individual people are in exactly the same situation.

Various people have been trying very hard to get a declaration but find it extremely difficult to obtain information or get past the bureaucracy.

We have not previously publicised these efforts but in frustration we have recently started a media campaign.

A number of residents have requested a meeting so we can decide if we want to continue the fight and how we should go about it.

Come along and hear what has happened so far and to have your say on where we should go from here.

Why were the Lake Clifton fires not a natural disaster?

The Lake Clifton fires have not been declared to be a natural disaster. This means that people who were impacted are unable to access the following benefits from the Federal Government:

  • $1,000 per adult and $400 per child
  • Free replacement of passports
  • Exemption from the flood levy
  • Up to $10,500 for replacement of white goods etc
  • Up to $10,000 for rebuilding assistance

There may be more benefits – these are the ones we know about.

The people in the Cities of Armadale, Canning and Swan and the Shires of Chittering and Serpentine Jarrahdale can access these funds even though there were a number of different fires on 5 February, some of which did much more damage than others. The natural disaster declaration lumped all of these together as a “Severe Bushfire Weather Event” but we cannot find any guidelines or rules that allow such a declaration. It appears that some of these people have been treated VERY differently to the people here in Lake Clifton!

You may also have seen the Channel 9 News late last week and heard the comment that the State is paying for demolition of houses in Kelmscott. We are attempting to find out the facts and will let you know if this story is true.

Ever since 10 January, your Progress Association has been asking why there has been no declaration of a natural disaster. We have lobbied politicians and bureaucrats and even written to the Premier. The decision on such a declaration is made by FESA who say that our fires did not meet the criteria – basically a cost to the State on “eligible expenditure” of $240,000. We know that the 60 or so power poles that were burnt have not been included in the calculation (seems very strange) but neither we nor our local member Murray Cowper have been able to find out exactly what has been included so we are not able to check if the calculation has been done in accordance with the published guidelines.

Through the good offices of Murray Cowper and Don Randall MHR, the Minister’s office has asked FESA for an explanation but this has been slow in coming.

We have avoided saying too much in public or on this web site until now as we were concerned that people may be upset by the lack of a declaration or that we may create an unrealistic expectation. However the issue is now being escalated and may very soon become public. Murray Cowper is further increasing his efforts on our behalf, David Templeman (MLA for Mandurah) has offered to assist and the media is looking into the whole question. Keep an eye on the West!

There have been many other disasters since 10 January, each of them worse than the last and some of us feel that this has led to our disaster being forgotten. But the people who lost their homes or whose properties were damaged in Lake Clifton are affected, financially and emotionally, as much as people anywhere else in the same situation. Being treated differently compounds the problem and we will continue our campaign for a fair go!!

PLEASE – if you support our efforts, leave a comment so that we can tell the politicians and bureaucrats that the locals are not happy. Alternatively, phone Tracey or Graeme or write to Murray Cowper or Minister Johnson or the Premier.

Men of the Trees – Species list

The link below will download a list of species that Men of the Trees are propagating and that are suitable for re-vegetation in the fire area. It would help them if you could indicate now the species you would like to have for your property so that they can ensure sufficient of each type are available.

It is difficult to believe but it probably will rain in a few weeks and these will need to be planted as soon as the ground is wet enough.

Men of the Trees – Species – Lake Clifton

Aerial photos

A couple of years ago, some people purchased aerial photos of their properties from a pilot who was doing survey work in the area. This guy has very generously provided new copies of all the photos he sold and these are available at no cost. So if you would like to replace your lost or damaged photo just call Pat on 9739 1484.

Applications for Lord Mayor’s fund

People who claimed the State Government grants of $3000 or $1000 have been sent claim forms for the Lord Mayor’s Fund which is administered by the Recovery Committee. If you or anyone you know has not received a form you should contact Tracey or the shire. This applies also to those who were affected but did not claim the State Government grant.

One person has told me that he will not be making a claim because the criteria appear to eliminate him. I also know that one person who lost their home has written a four page attachment as he felt that the forms did not adequately cover his particular situation.

While the forms are not perfect and the criteria are daunting, may I suggest that everyone affected should submit a claim and leave it to the committee to sort out how the funds will be distributed. One thing is certain – no claim, no money!!

It is not possible to predict how the committee will regard your insurance status. There are many sides to this issue and I suggest that you do not attempt to pre-judge the committee’s decisions. The best thing to do is to lodge a claim, give all the facts and allow those charged with the responsibility to make decisions.

By the way, you should be aware that all decisions of the Recovery Committee are subject to review by the Board of the Lord Mayor’s Fund to ensure that they are consistent with decisions in all other disaster areas of the state.

There is an amount of money that MUST be distributed amongst those affected and if you have suffered losses, there is always a possibility that your particular circumstances will be judged to be worthy of some funding.

If you need help in completing the forms, this can be arranged – just contact Tracey or Graeme and we will do our best to assist you.

This will be a long and bureaucratic process and it comes at a very difficult time but please make sure that you do not miss out because it all looks too hard.

Island Point Cleanup

The Clean up Australia for Island Point will be held this coming Saturday – March 12, from 8.30am. Meet at the picnica area. Please wear closed in shoes and bush protective clothing, bring along drinking water.

There will be a BBQ at the completion of the morning.

The monthly meeting of Friends of Island Point will be held Wednesday 16, commencing 7.30pm at the Bouvard Sport & Recreation Centre. They are looking for ideas on Island Point and everyone is welcome.

Donated clothing etc

As you know, a huge amount of clothing, linen and other items were donated immediately following the fires in January. Some items were taken by victims but there has been no movement of these items for several weeks.

The clothing and linen is being sent to Mayday in Mandurah where it will be professionally sorted, displayed and offered for sale. As you may know, all the profits made by Mayday are distributed to needy people and organisations in the region. Mayday already has a good range of items and ours will further extend their ability to assist everyone in the region.

SO – if you were impacted by the fires and need clothing or anything else that Mayday has, all you need to do is to ask Tracey Timmins for a letter to identify you. Take it to Mayday and you will be given special treatment!!

There is still a lot of food, toiletries etc at the hall. Just call Tracey or Graeme if you would like to collect some. Anything that is not collected in the next couple of weeks will be donated to one of the charity groups in Mandurah.