Ag industry offers Esperance support

19 Nov, 2015 03:35 PM
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WA agribusinesses are offering support to those affected by the Esperance fires.

To help those communities start to rebuild all that has been lost, CBH Group Board has approved a donation of $250,000 which will be made to the Lord Mayor's Distress Relief Fund - Esperance Fires Appeal, along with a raft of other support measures.

CBH chief executive officer Dr Andy Crane said it was a tragic week for the communities affected and will have an impact for months to come.

"CBH and the Esperance farming community have worked closely together for many years and to see the devastation this week in the region has impacted us all," Dr Crane said.

"We will be doing what we can for the grain growers in Esperance to support them through this disaster and the recovery to follow.

"In addition to the donation we have set up an account so that other grain growers across the State can donate grain to the people affected.

"That grain will then be sold and the profits donated to supporting the affected communities through the Lord Mayor's Distress Relief Fund.

"CBH will also waive any freight fees on the donated grain; if there are any growers who would like to make a donation we urge them to do so through Loadnet or the Grower Service Centre.

"The process of distributing and managing all of the donated funds will be will be managed by the Shire of Esperance as part of the Lord Mayor's Distress Relief Fund."

In addition to financial assistance, CBH is also planning to assist growers in the assessment and sale of any grain affected by the fire that has been stored on farm.

"It is too early to assess the level of damage at the moment, but we will continue to help growers manage any grain that has been fire affected through introducing new segregations where possible," Dr Crane said.

"CBH is also offering employees access to free counselling at any time, many of our employees have been personally devastated by this fire and we will do all we can to support them at this time.

"We will be bringing the Black Dog Mental Wellness Program to the Esperance region during February to deliver workshops around mental wellness in communities for health professionals, farm businesses and high school students."

Working alongside the Shire of Esperance, WAFarmers will also assist in the management of a donation register for items including stock feed, clean seed for next year's crop, seed millet, agistment placements, items to repair properties such as fencing and water fittings, or any other items that would be useful to those affected.

WAFarmers president Dale Park said the establishment of the appeal would help to ease the suffering of farmers.

"Putting out the fires is only the first step. After that is when rehabilitation really begins and people can begin to recover," Mr Park said.

"To this end, we are working with the Shire of Esperance on the appeal register and will have some staff visit Esperance once the fires are out to assist farmers where need be.

"WAFarmers has a CBH receival number which growers can donate grain to, with money raised to go directly to helping affected farmers in the region.

"Additionally, we encourage people who do not have grain but who would like to donate to deposit funds to WAFarmers and we will ensure those funds are entirely redirected on to the ground."

Mr Park said though the fires had devastated the community, they were showing great resilience.

"It is always during dark times that you see peoples' best natures shining through to help those less fortunate or who have lost everything," he said.

"Nothing can fully replace what was lost during these devastating fires, especially when people have lost loved ones, but we hope that this appeal will help in some small way to get farmers on track to rebuilding their lives and livelihoods."

National Australia Bank, ANZ and Rabobank have also announced they will be offering support measures to clients affected by the fires.

Donations to the Esperance Fires Appeal can be made:

• via EFT: BSB: 306-035, Account: 201445-8

• over the counter at any BankWest branch or agency to the dedicated appeal account BSB: 306-035, Account: 201445-8

• in person at the Customer Service counter at Council House, 27 St Georges Terrace, Perth

• on the phone via credit card on 9461 3886 during normal business hours

• by mail to LMDRF, Esperance Fires Appeal, City of Perth, GPO Box C120, Perth WA 6839

To raise money through grain donations you will need to:

1. Deliver grain to CBH's receival sites using your own CBH grower number

2. Log onto LoadNet, click on the 'Transactions' tab and the 'Grower Transfer' tab

3. Select the commodity and receival site then enter WAFarmers CBH Customer Number (2024 7953)

4. Select the loads (or portions of loads) you wish to donate.

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