Message from the Shire President

It’s fair to say we’ve seen a month like almost no other in living memory with the impact of Tropical Cyclone Seroja on our Shire. Whilst we did not incur the same level of damage as some of our neighbours to the north-west, Mingenew still suffered significant damage. As you read this, I hope that you are safe and well, and recovering. For those who are in need of assistance, I know there are many services available and, if you aren’t sure how to access them, you can always contact the Shire.

On that note, I would like to recognise our team; our CEO Nils and his staff have been a real credit to our Shire in the past few weeks as they have helped to manage the clean-up and recovery process. It should also be noted that in the last few weeks we have really seen our community pull together and there have been numerous volunteers, as well as organisations like the Mingenew Police and Mingenew Irwin Group who have put significant time and effort into the welfare of this Shire. This community spirit has seen us start the recovery journey well – and I am sure will hold us in good stead for the rebuilding journey ahead.

For some, thankfully, the clean-up more or less marks the end of the cyclone’s impact. For others though – who have lost homes, buildings and equipment – the process is going to take longer. For many of our farmers, this is coupled with the need to sow crops as well. It might take a few weeks, or even months, for the impact of the cyclone to hit home – and during this time it’s important to check in with your friends and family, and reach out if it starts to become a struggle.

Whilst we are continuing to advocate for our community during the recovery process, we are also doing what we can to see life return to some kind of normality as well. To that end, I’m happy that winter sport has started, and that those important sporting and social events – which are part of our community fabric – continue to take place. From the Shire’s point of view, our facilities were not significantly damaged, and we hope to be able to support those ongoing activities.

It is going to take some time for the repairs and rebuilding to happen, and we want to ensure that our residents are able to stay in the Shire, run their businesses effectively, and rebuild. To that end, I want to encourage everyone to support our local businesses. Keeping our main street busy and vibrant and our local operators working will be a key part of the recovery process and we all have a part to play. There are also a number of support services available for anyone who needs a hand at the moment – and I know the Shire has been working on publicising these as best they can. Don’t hesitate to get in touch though if you aren’t sure where to turn.

– Cr Gary Cosgrove, Shire President

TC Seroja

The Shire is continuing to maintain its website resources for those impacted by the cyclone. You can find those online here.

A summary of that content follows below:

Clean-up

  • Visit this site for a helpful clean-up guide from the Red Cross
  • We are investigating options to assist with removal of metal waste, particularly for those with damaged sheds and similar structures
  • Fake tradies and other types of scammers often target disaster affected areas, offering cheap, cash-only repairs to roofs, driveways and fences, so beware those who come to your door unannounced. Instead ask relatives, friends or social media connections for recommendations, get several quotes and sight previous work plus proof of any credential claims, such as evidence of an industry association membership.
  • The Shire asks that you take remaining green waste and debris to the landfill moving forwards; we may have another kerbside pickup service available in the coming weeks, but for now our crews have returned to their regular duties

Electricity

  • If anyone is still without power and in need of a generator, we have a number available for loan. Please contact the Shire for more information.
  • Western Power are asking for landowners / residents in rural areas with power poles down or damaged to, if safe to access, please record the pole number shown on the pole (should be a yellow plate with pole number beginning in ‘S______’ and or ‘MI_/_’. Please contact Western Power on 13 13 51 or report to the Shire and we can collate and report on.
  • If you have seen a downed pole or wires, please do not assume it is de-energised and do not try to move it. Stay 8m away and report it Western Power on 13 13 51 (24/7). By reporting it, you ensure that Western Power are aware of it and able to prioritise the repair.

Asbestos

You may have damaged asbestos on your property. This will mostly be broken pieces of asbestos sheeting (fences, walls, eaves). The asbestos in these broken sheets will still be ‘bonded’. That is, the fibres will be held together in the cement matrix so they wont be easily released. Therefore, they present a very low risk for exposure unless you start to break them further.

The authorities are organising specialised asbestos removalists for asbestos clean-up, so you don’t have to touch it. However, if you want to clean-up and remove the bonded asbestos sheets and fragments on your property you can do this if you follow the precautions below. If the asbestos can be easily broken when you touch it you need to leave it alone. This means it is becoming friable and will require specialist removalists.

Reasonable measures for cleaning bonded asbestos sheets and fragments:

  1. Make sure you are wearing adequate personal protective clothing. This includes;
    • P2 or N95 mask
    • Disposable coveralls – if available or old clothes that can be disposed later
    • Gloves
    • Disposable shoe covers – if available or hard cover shoes that can be cleaned
  1. Do not break or crush the asbestos when you are moving it.
  2. Carefully place the asbestos material in 200um plastic bags (heavy duty) or wrap using rolls of 200um plastic.
  3. If you are placing the asbestos in plastic bags they should NOT be more than half full. Tightly twist the bag opening and fold over to form a goose neck and secure with heavy duty duct tape. Finally place that bag inside another one (double bag), seal and label ‘DANGER ASBESTOS WASTE’
  4. If you are using rolls of black plastic make sure you only wrap the equivalent of a single fence sheet for each wrapping. Double wrap, seal with duct tape and label ‘DANGER ASBESTOS WASTE’
  5. Contact the Shire to arrange appropriate collection and disposal (we can also potentially assist with provision of plastic to wrap asbestos)

Stock Feed

For farmers impacted by TC Seroja, stock feed (export-grade hay in 8x4x4 bales) is available from the Mingenew Polocrosse Grounds. Contact the Shire on 08 9928 1102 if you require some, as all collections need to be registered and accounted for.

Support Services

Insurance

If you have questions or need help with insurance claims, you can contact the Insurance Council catastrophe hotline on 1800 734 621 or visit their website.

Legal Support

Legal Aid WA at 1300 650 579 is available for free legal advice and referrals to assist with insurance claims, ability to service a mortgage, debts, property, housing and replacing important documents.

Financial Assistance

  • The Australian Government is establishing a range of financial assistance measures for those affected. For more information visit this website or call 180 22 66. Impacted Mingenew residents will be eligible for Commonwealth assistance
  • The Lord Mayor’s Distress Relief Fund has been activated. We will provide more information on how to apply for assistance through the fund as it becomes available.
  • If you need assistance accessing online payments and services, the please visit the Mingenew CRC and they will be able to assist you
  • If you contact the Department of Communities Disaster Response Hotline (1800 032 965) they can assists with a range of State Government payments

Rural Aid

Rural Aid is a NFP Organisation that was set up to fundraise and provide assistance for farmers and rural communities and can provide assistance in times of natural disasters. They offer a further $1000 of assistance (independent to other Government Assistance). Click here or call (07) 3153 4645 for more details and to apply.

They also have a range of programs and disaster assistance available for farmers and rural community members in WA including mental health support.

Mental Health Support

Events like this can cause stress and anxiety; and this is normal. If you are struggling reach out to a friend or family member. There are also a range of mental health services available in the region and over the phone, they include:

  • Desert Blue Connect – 0419 348 006
  • Beyond Blue – 1300 224 636
  • Lifeline – 13 11 14
  • Kids Helpline – 1800 551 800
  • Virtual Psychologist – TEXT 0488 807 266

 For More Information

  • ABC Radio in the Mid West and Wheatbelt: 828AM or 531AM
  • Department of Communities Disaster Response Hotline: 1800 032 965
  • Department of Fire and Emergency Services Disaster Recovery Resource Page: click here
  • SES Emergency Assistance: 132 500
  • In a life-threatening situation, always call 000

Roadwork Updates

The Shire will be commencing gravel resheeting works for our section of Milo Road in May. Please observe any signage and traffic control measures in the area.

Arc Infrastructure will also be carrying out rail crossing works on Boolinda Rd on May 13 which may see it closed for the day. Contact Arc on 9442 8881 for more details.

Cecil Newton Park/Skate Park Project Update

The skate park should be opened any day now! At the same time, the pump track has been pegged out and will start to take shape as well.

ANZAC Day

Thanks to all who attended and assisted with the 2021 ANZAC Day Dawn Service, including the Mingenew Hotel/Motel who put on the gunfire breakfast.

Transfer Station Transition Process: Delayed

Due to the cyclone and some unforeseen staffing matters with our chosen contractor, the transition to the transfer station has been delayed. Updated communications will be issued when a new date is locked in.

You can find more information online here or by contacting the Shire.

Fire Season

We are now in open burning season. Restricted burning will return on 1 October 2021. Even so, please ensure you are exercising caution with any burning off that you are conducting. The DFES website has some information to help landowners here.

Shire SMS Service

To improve our public communication the Shire sends out text messages for key fire, road and community-related matters. It’s easy and free to get on the list. If you would like to be added to the database, please fill in a form at the Shire office or complete one online here.

Mosquito Activity

Shire officers have been testing and treating standing water for mosquito larvae and fogging. If you are have issues with mosquitoes at your property, please let the Shire know (visit the office, call 9928 1102 or email enquiries@mingenew.wa.gov.au) so that we can investigate and treat the issue.

Council Meeting Review – April 2021

Council’s April meeting was cancelled due to the impact of the cyclone. Instead, Councillor met to discuss the response and recovery process.

A regular Council meeting will take place next on Wednesday 19 May from 4.30pm at the Council Chambers.

Thank You

We want to take a moment to thank the many people and organisations that have come to assist our community over the past few weeks. We apologise, as the list won’t be comprehensive (we know lots of people provided help that we aren’t aware of) but wanted to acknowledge and highlight the incredible support that exists within our community and region.

  • ABC Midwest and Wheatbelt: Jo Prendergast, Michelle Stanley, Natasha Harradine and Chris Lewis
  • Anna Hillman
  • Anthony & Freya Smyth + Families
  • Bronwyn Criddle + Family
  • Carl Forward + Family
  • CBH: Duncan Gray + Colette Newton
  • City of Bayswater
  • Corrina Michael + Family
  • Donald Heitman + Family
  • Fiona & Geoff Cosgrove + Family
  • Hellene McTaggart + Family
  • Hinterland Collaborative
  • James Guppy
  • Jess Ward + Family
  • John Passmore
  • Kait Morgan + Family
  • Lilly Doran + Family
  • Matt Starick + Family
  • Meedac
  • Merkanooka Haulage and Yewers Family
  • Michal Krizanek
  • Mingenew Hotel/Motel
  • Mingenew Irwin Group
  • Mingenew Police: Sergeant Neal Boonzaaier and Senior Constable Glen Hillman
  • Mingenew Spring Caravan Park
  • Pippin Holmes
  • Rachel Bagshaw + Jono Moss
  • Rebecca Kelly
  • Rick + Linley Starick
  • Sam Greaves
  • Scott Morgan
  • SES crews from the local area and interstate
  • Shire of Coorow
  • Shire of Irwin
  • WA Police Great Southern District Support Team
  • WA Police Three Springs
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