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Re-building infrastructure lost to bushfires

29 June 2009 |Media centre

Community Enterprise Foundation in conjunction with Futuris Corporation today announced funding of $350,000 to assist reconstruction of fencing in communities affected by the February Black Saturday bushfires.

More than 22,000 kilometers of perimeter fencing were lost a across Victoria, having a major impact on local primary producers who require basic infrastructure such as fencing in order to assist them to re-stock and keep their businesses and livelihoods running.

Head of Community Enterprise Foundation Callum Wright said the staff and customers of Futuris donated more than $100,000 to the Bushfire Appeal, which Futuris Corporation have matched with in kind equivalent value of fencing materials.

“The community’s response to those affected by the Victorian bushfires has been incredible, with more than $7.5 million raised by our customers and the public so far,” Mr Wright said.

“And it is fantastic that we are now able to start handing out the funds and hope the grants will help communities like Redesdale, the Yarra Ranges and Marysville begin to return to the way of life they knew before the bushfires,” he said.

The fencing program is set to start in Redesdale, with Elders and Conservation Volunteers Australia to co-ordinate and erect fencing in three fire affected communities – Redesdale, the Yarra Ranges and Marysville.

Conservation Volunteers Australia has significant experience in re-fencing projects following fires, and will provide the necessary equipment, coordination and expertise to assist local volunteers who wish to help in the re-fencing exercise.

Conservation Volunteers Australia Ken Beasley said the project is a great opportunity to get together with Community Enterprise Foundation and Futuris Corporation to assist devastated parts of Victoria.

“The fencing program was about helping and healing, but also leaving a lasting legacy, with all the groups involved assisting in rebuilding vital infrastructure,” Mr Beasley said.

“Everyone is keen to do what they can and at the moment one of the best ways we can help is by working to assist fire affected communities in a practical way.”

Mr Wright said that the Foundation is also working closely with fire affected communities to distribute the more of the funds raised during the appeal.

“We are conscious of the community engagement consultation and planning processes that need to be undertaken, and will work with the Bendigo Bank’s Community Bank® partners to identify projects and distribute funding in conjunction with local fire recovery committees and reconstruction plans.”

Community Enterprise Foundation continues to take donations towards the Bushfire Appeal at any branch of the Bendigo Bank or online at www.bendigobank.com.au/foundation.

People wishing volunteer to assist re-fencing activities in Redesdale can contact Karl Metcalf on 03 5423 4132 or 0437 274 500.

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