Bushfire appeal boosted by councillorís donation

Article image - Bushfire appeal boosted by councillorís donation Cr Andrew Murat, Armidale Rotary Club President, Grant Harris, Rural Fire Serviceís New England Zone District Coordinator, Inspector Liz Ferris (centre), with Mayor Simon Murray and Cr Peter Bailey.

A community campaign to assist drought and bushfire affected residents in the east of the Armidale region, New South Wales, has been given a substantial boost by three councillors who have redirected a portion of their allowances as elected members.

Armidale Regional Council Mayor, Simon Murray, and fellow councillors, Peter Bailey and Andrew Murat, have dedicated a total of $5,000 to an Ebor bushfire appeal coordinated by Rotary Clubs in Armidale and Uralla.

The Mayor has allocated funds from his Mayoral allowance, while Cr Murat and Cr Bailey have used the option to redirect their annual allowances for personal development as elected members.

Cr Murray said Armidale Regional Council had a strong emphasis on training and other personal development for its elected members, to keep them up to date with issues and practices in local government.

“However, the unprecedented challenges affecting many landholders in our region, confronted by both drought and bushfire damage, represent a more compelling use of those funds for this year.”

He said the Rotary Ebor Bushfire Appeal was a wonderful initiative to provide short-term assistance for landholders impacted by the ongoing Bees Nest fire that has burnt for several weeks.

Armidale Rotary Club President, Grant Harris, said he was absolutely ecstatic with the councillors’ contribution, which took the appeal a long way towards its goal of raising $15,000.

A Rotary Australia World Community Service grant of $15,000, funded by businessman Dick Smith, was secured on the grounds the clubs matched it dollar for dollar with their own fundraising.

“The money will be used to provide landholders with vouchers they can spend with local traders for urgent relief, for example, pharmacies, rural merchandise or water carting.

“The added bonus is this money is directed to local businesses. As the drought continues, it’s not just farmers that are feeling the strain. Businesses and the wider community are also being hit hard.”