Member updates

Rebuilding after the bushfires

With 2020 dominated by COVID, it would be easy to forget that we started 2020 with a much different problem.

Long-time Master Plumbers member and East Gippsland Rotary Fire Aid Group member Bernie Farquhar sent through a note recently to provide an update on the Gippsland region and how the area has begun to rebuild after the devastating bushfires the preceded the COVID pandemic.

Rebuilding after the bushfires

Hi all,

13 months on since the 2020 fire and the rebuilding has really just begun, the clean up has been completed but the memories and feeling are still on edge, the anniversary of the new years eve fire bought some bad memories back, for others it has made us realise how slow we are in recovering. COVID may have halted a few things but government organizations are only just scratching the surface and no real project money has been released, although, that may be about to change very quickly according to our local members.

Tradies are in a mini boom here, three of our top builders have stopped quoting with orders booked into 2023/24!!

Shire planning issues still exist around BAL ratings and set backs most people seem to be under insured for the rebuild with BAL ratings adding between $80 to $150k onto some builds.

On the voluntary side, our rotary group has passed on over $1.5mil in hay, fodder, lick blocks and cash advances. We have supplied 104 sea containers, 2 x 7 x 12 sheds, 12 caravans refurbished with heaters and showers and we have purchased a Lucas mill ($21k) for loaning to farmers so they can cut their own posts and rails from fallen trees. We are about to pay for and regenerate over 1000 hectares of pasture with lime and seeding drops in the Buchan Gelantipy Way and have instigated the growing of 10,000 saplings ready for planting mid to end this year for new wind breaks and shading.

Temporary homes are on the up swing, we have installed 15 homes in East Gippsland and our crew and myself went over to assist Corryong teams. We have another 3 to do in the north east and 4 more in the Goongerah area, north east of Gippsland. This work hasn’t come without its issues either, especially when a home hits a tree on the way in and removes 4 roof sheets, or when the generators are dropped off and driver takes keys with him, with no mobile service to ring the dickhead up to say come back!

Fortunately, 2021 is feeling better. We have had a little rain but need another 150mm at least. The clay bases are dry as chips, the 3 tonne excavators are groaning, only just get there digging septic tank holes some times.

I really appreciate the amazing support I have had off each one of you it truly makes you feel really proud of our network and friendship, hopefully I will catch up with you all this year at one of the meetings.


Bernie Farquhar

Simpro – 2 x 3 month – started may 24


Simpro – 2 x 3 month – started may 24


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