Emergency Assistance for Bushfires
Please call 1800 846 643 to speak with Vinnies volunteer members in your local area. Just have your postcode handy when you call.
Vinnies volunteer members are present in communities big and small throughout Australia, and always ready to support locals in times of hardship.
In QLD, we are currently offering emergency assistance for the drought and bushfires. We are able to offer immediate support including:
- Food and grocery vouchers
- Clothing, blankets and other essentials
- Financial assistance to pay bills
- Interest-free loans for a variety of household items
- Emotional support and a shoulder to lean on
- Referrals to other service providers.
Please call us on 1800 846 643 so we can help you get back on your feet.
Further assistance is available to those who need it. Please see the below criteria and possible funds available.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE?
All callers who – as a result of the fires or drought – have experienced:
- Loss or damage to their property.
- Loss or damage of their belongings.
- Loss or impact to income/livelihood.
A one off $1,000 Emergency Response Fund (Government funded).
$3000 drought relief through the Government Drought Community Support Initiative (DCSI) — Drought only.
Further funding from the Always There — Vinnies Disaster Appeal based on need and circumstance.
How we helped Glynis and her family: Hope when all hope is lost
It’s hard to have hope for the future when bushfire has ravaged your small farm and destroyed the business your husband built with his father, but Glynis Limberg has hope thanks to Vinnies.
When Glynis and her husband Ray’s small cattle farm near Esk was impacted by not one but two separate bushfires late last year, their home was fortunately spared, but they lost her husband’s sawmill, tools and everything he needed for his small woodturning business, as well as a number of their livestock and all their fencing.
Glynis said driving away from the property was one of the scariest moments of her life.
“We were just trying to catch our breath and then I went outside and thought ‘Oh. No, it’s just so bad,” she said.
“It was a horrific drive in itself because further down the road the fire took hold and I could feel the radiating heat through our car window, I couldn’t see anything.”
With their main source of income gone, Glynis turned to Vinnies for help.
“Once the income’s gone, that’s it. It’s organisations like Vinnies that have got us through.”
“The day St Vincent de Paul put that money into our account gave him [Ray] so much hope, he knew he could feed his cattle."
Vinnies assisted the Limbergs with $3000 towards ongoing costs on their farm and provided Christmas hampers to give them a brighter Christmas and vouchers to use in local shops.
Click here to read Glynis’ full story.
Glynis’ young son surveying the remains of his Dad’s sawmill.
A hand of hope for Kate in times of disaster and how Vinnies volunteers help ease the drought burden
Barcaldine farmer Kate McKeering is a battler, a fighter and an incredibly hard worker, but the ongoing drought has even her considering giving up on her dream.
Kate has been through a lot in recent years, she and her husband of 40 years separated, leaving Kate with overwhelming debt and two drought-stricken properties to try and save.
“Why the drought is really biting hard for me at the moment is my personal circumstances, a few years ago we bought country down at Chinchilla, we bought a feedlot down there trying to drought proof ourselves,” she said.
“I was a bit stupid I suppose because in the end I agreed to stuff (in the separation) just to get it over and done with, I took the two places at Barky (Barcaldine) and about $4 million dollars debt and he took the two places at Chinchilla and everything worth any amount of money.
“I’ve had to de-stock, I’ve got some cattle on agistment in places but that is running out now.
“I’ve had to pay a number of agistment, and lease bills and I’ve got the bare necessity I have to get by but if it doesn’t rain at all in the next two months I’ll have to totally de-stock I think.
“Without rain I’ll have to sell both properties, as I’d never be able to re-stock them.”
In the face of mounting debt, Kate struggles daily to keep cattle alive on her main property, the 50,000-acre Sterling, and with no significant rain on the horizon she fears giving up her home and the life she has known for almost 40 years.
“I knew it was a real gamble (taking on the Barcaldine properties) but I thought it would rain because we’d had a few years of drought, and I thought once it rains I’ll sell one of the places and I’ll be right,” she said.
“But it just hasn’t rained. I’m in a really bad situation.”
As Kate continues to battle the mental toll of debt and drought, her bad luck has been compounded by the loss of two close family members in recent months.
“I have had a really bad run of things but that’s life, my main priority each day is to keep food and water up to the cattle I have left,” she said.
“I’ll be honest it’s both physically and mentally draining getting up each day, throw into that in the past two months both my mum and my sister have died.”
In 39 years of farming Kate said she has never experienced drought like the current disaster wreaking havoc on her land and her life.
“I’ve never seen anything like this drought, to be perfectly honest, out here I’ve never seen it like this,” she said.
“It was really quite bad in the early 90s, there was some bad years, they were just normal droughts I suppose.
“End of 1980, 82 and 83 and then 86 and 87 were pretty ordinary also but this one has just been terrible.
“I think our little area where we are has been drought declared for seven years, it is exceptional, especially Sterling.”
Kate said the help of her daughter and the support of Vinnies has provided her strength.
“I had some bills in town that I just couldn’t pay, I put dockets into Vinnies, and they paid some of them for me, that was fantastic,” she says.
“It was a bit of weight off my shoulders.
“It wasn’t $20, I ended up getting $7000 towards bills from Vinnies, it was very, very helpful.”
Kate said Vinnies volunteers are a constant source of support and were always looking out for her and other locals.
“I have some medical conditions and I said to Robyn from Vinnies that I didn’t go for my check-ups in Brisbane, I cancelled them because I just couldn’t afford to go,” she said.
“She said to me, you should’ve approached Vinnies, Vinnies can help with those sorts of things.
“It is good to know they are there to help if they can.”
Kate said knowing Vinnies were there to help, whether she decides to fight on at Sterling until the rain falls, or whether she decides to sell up, was comforting.
“I’ve put a lot of thought into selling up, you think about it all the time, you also can’t let it consume your life, but you also can’t just bury your head in the sand,” she said.
“I think Vinnies are a great organisation they really helped me when I was in a really tight spot.”