Residents of flood-impacted Ayton, Bloomfield, Helenvale and Rossville will be able to access financial assistance designed to bolster community resilience following a non-competitive $50,000 funding announcement by Cook Shire Council.
With more than 140 residences within the Cook Shire local government area inundated by floodwater in the wake of Tropical Cyclone Jasper, the council said on 1 February, 2024 that it was taking “decisive steps” to mitigate future natural disasters.
Mayor Peter Scott highlighted the myriad challenges faced during the aftermath, including emergency and telecommunications infrastructure, a lack of coordination on the ground locally for communities, and the need for collaboration.
“With roads blocked and power and telecommunications systems out, one of the biggest challenges was being able to contact, connect with, and support our communities when and where they needed us most,” he said.
“These critical funds will go towards building resilience within the identified communities based on feedback received at community workshops.”
Unprecedented rain followed the December 2023 cyclone, along with flooding, property loss, road damage, landslides, and power outages to the southern parts of Cook Shire.
Additionally, the weather event devasted neighbouring Degarra, in Douglas Shire, and Wujal Wujal Aboriginal Shire.
When Cook Shire teams were able to access communities to provide on-the-ground support, three key areas were identified that the $50,000 funding allocation will specifically target.
To help empower local communities, funding for emergency and telecommunications infrastructure, including generators, satellite communications, emergency first aid equipment, and other resilience-enhancing items will be eligible for funding.
Mayor Scott said also employing and training staff located in communities during significant events would improve communication and coordination with the Local Disaster Coordination Center.
“Our paramount concern is the safety and resilience of our communities,” he said.
“By addressing the immediate needs identified by impacted communities, we fortify our disaster response capabilities.”
Cook Shire Council chief executive office Brian Joiner added that “the collaboration between communities and council is pivotal in building resilience”.
Additional funding will be allocated towards enhancing disaster resilience in other communities within Cook Shire once workshops have been conducted to identify the unique needs of each community.
For more information about accessing the funding, call Cook Shire Council on 07 4082 0500.