Less than eight weeks since the outbreak of the first bush fire to hit the Southern Highlands and Wingecarribee Shire’s Mayoral Relief Fund has topped $100,000.
A total of $94,250 has been distributed to 198 families and individuals across the Shire since the first fires tore through the villages of Balmoral and Buxton.
Wingecarribee Shire Mayor Duncan Gair said the donations had been channelled to those hardest hit.
“In the days after the Green Wattle Creek and Morton Fires, staff were on the ground distributing and transferring funds to bush fire affected residents,” he said.
“To have $105,103 secured in less than two months demonstrates how widespread the impact of these fires has been felt and how generous our residents are.”
“After speaking to many of the people directly affected I know that while the money may only be a drop in the ocean moving forward, it was greatly appreciated in the days after the fires.”
The monies raised from the Mayoral Relief Fund coincide with Council receiving Deductible Gift Recipient status from the Australian Tax Office (ATO).
“The fund was kicked-off with a $50,000 donation from Council,” the Mayor said. “Since then staff have worked closely with the ATO to have all donations classified as tax deductible.”
The Deductible Gift Status has been back-dated to 23 December 2019 which allows Council to provide receipts for pre-existing donations.
“Just as important is the fact that no monies are being withheld for administrative purposes,” the Mayor said. “All costs are being absorbed by Council.”
“These bush fires will have a long-term impact on our Shire so it’s important that monies continue to flow to those that need it.
“And while many of our local welfare agencies have been inundated with physical donations, I would encourage anyone still wishing to help to consider a financial contribution to the fund.”
Donations can be made online through a dedicated account organised via the National Australia Bank (NAB) at:
Account name: MAYORAL RELIEF FUND
Account number: 20 118 3392
Donations can also be made in person at any branch of the NAB with the abovementioned details or in person at Wingecarribee Shire Council’s Customer Service Centre located in the Moss Vale Civic Centre.
Requests for donations will NOT be undertaken via door-knocking.
To date monies have been issued to residents in Balmoral, Buxton, High Range, Hill Top, Bundanoon, Exeter, Meryla, Penrose and Wingello.
“I would urge anyone directly impacted by these fires who may have not already applied for financial assistance to do so as soon as possible,” Mayor Gair added.
Applications for financial assistance via the Mayoral Relief Fund close Friday 28 February 2020.
For more information, including how to apply for assistance, visit www.wsc.nsw.gov.au or contact Wingecarribee Shire Council via their dedicated Bush Fire Recovery phone line on 1800 316 500.