Cyclone belts pastoral areas

24 Feb, 2018 04:00 AM
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Calves took shelter on Anna Plains station, south of Broome, as cyclone Kelvin battered the property on the weekend.
Calves took shelter on Anna Plains station, south of Broome, as cyclone Kelvin battered the property on the weekend.

AFTER being flooded by severe weather from a tropical low which moved across Broome and the Kimberley a few weeks ago, Kimberley Pilbara Cattlemen’s Association (KPCA) president David Stoate has been hit again.

The pastoralist from Anna Plains station, about 250 kilometres south of Broome, was directly in the path of cyclone Kelvin as it crossed the coast on the weekend, uplifting trees, removing roofs from buildings and damaging fences.

At its peak, near the cyclone centre, winds up to 150km an hour were recorded.

Mr Stoate said they had plenty of warning prior to its arrival but there was nothing he could do to prevent “hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of damage”.

“We are holding up pretty well,” Mr Stoate said.

“No one has been injured and we are starting the clean up stage.”

Mr Stoate said rainfall measurements since January had smashed his annual figure of 420 millimetres and he “could do with a few dry days” to get on top of the damage.

More than 630mm of rain has been reported in areas across the region.

Mr Stoate said checking the cattle was next on his list and he was fortunate enough to have enough staff on the property to assist with the clean up.

The Department of Fire and Emergency Services chartered a plane to drop supplies to Anna Plains station, as well as an Aboriginal community on the Dampier Peninsula – further air drops and barges were expected to deliver supplies to those cut off due to flooding.

The KPCA’s Fortnightly Five newsletter said disaster relief funding was already available to producers impacted by Tropical Cyclones Hilda and Joyce, and the tropical low that flooded the Pilbara and Kimberley in late January.

The association expected that further assistance would also be available for the impacts associated with Tropical Cyclone Kelvin.

Mr Stoate said while it wasn’t easy to apply for funds he would look at assistance offered through the disaster relief available from the State and Federal governments.

Northern producers affected by the flooding disaster of a few weeks ago have access to funds made available through the jointly-funded Commonwealth-State Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA).

Disaster assistance was activated in response to the weather event which saw Coles supermarket charter a plane to fly 12 tonnes of fresh produce and milk to the Kimberley after the roads into the region were closed due to flooding.

The emergency airlift delivered 15 pallets of fresh fruit and vegetables and dozens of boxes of UHT milk delivered to the Broome Airport, before being trucked to stores in Broome and Kununurra.

A barge was also organised to deliver packaged groceries and fresh milk to the region.

Minister for Law Enforcement and Cybersecurity Angus Taylor, who has responsibility for disaster assistance, said the tropical low that moved over the Kimberley and East Pilbara regions in late January had affected a large number of roads with flooding.

“The low brought with it heavy rainfall and strong winds in excess of 100km/h,” Mr Taylor said.

“Some communities were left isolated and many of these roads had also suffered previous damage from the recent tropical cyclones Hilda and Joyce.

“This activation of the NDRRA will ensure funding is available to help affected communities and restore damaged public infrastructure, such as roads.”

WA Emergency Services Minister Fran Logan said disaster assistance had been activated in the five local government areas of Broome, Halls Creek, Derby-West Kimberley, Wyndham-East Kimberley and East Pilbara.

“The assistance will support eligible people, small businesses and primary producers with their recovery,” Mr Logan said.

“It will also ensure funding is available for clean-up and debris removal activities.”

Assistance available under the NDRRA may include personal hardship and distress assistance for affected individuals and families, financial support for affected communities, local governments and State agencies to help with the removal of debris, demolition and rebuilding, counter disaster operations, as well as the costs of cleaning up and restoring damaged essential public assets.

It could also assist with interest rate subsidies for small businesses and primary producers, and freight subsidies for primary producers.

The assistance available for this event is divided into categories.

For further information visit oem.wa.gov.au/funding/wandrra

People suffering personal hardship and distress as a result of this event should call the disaster response hotline on 1800 032 965.

Information on disaster assistance available for natural disasters can be found on the Commonwealth Government’s website at disasterassist.gov.au

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