On March 18, residents of Tathra (a small town on the NSW South Coast, east of Bega) endured one of the worst bushfires the coast has seen in decades. Strong winds and high temperatures fanned flames through several kilometres of bushland and across a river, before it reached the beautiful seaside township.
65 houses and 35 caravans/cabins were destroyed and 48 homes damaged, leaving countless individuals and families in need of emergency shelter and accommodation. Since then, residents have been coming to terms with the extent of their loss, and are working together to try to rebuild the town.
In an effort to raise funds for victims of the Tathra bushfires, neighbouring Bendigo Bank Community Banks in Bega and Pambula have united with other Community Banks in the region to offer financial support.
Canberra Community Bank Group (which manages Community Bank® branches in Curtin, Calwell, Wanniassa and Jerrabomberra) have donated $5000 towards the fundraising effort.
Chairman, Neale Guthrie, says “Our Board was moved by the images we saw, and we understand the pain that a bushfire can bring to a community. There’s a lot of support that’s needed in the days, weeks and months as they try to rebuild infrastructure and get back on their feet.
“Lots of Canberrans are linked to the area, or come from the region, so we wanted to show our support as we did after the Carwoola fires for our sister Community Banks in Bungendore and Braidwood. The Community Bank network offers support to local communities right across the country, but when it’s in our own backyard it’s so important that we reach out and do what we can to help.”
Chairman of Bendigo Bega and Pambula Community Banks, Colin Dunn, says that the response has been extremely heartening.
“Bendigo Bank has prepared an assistance package and implemented several concessions to help affected customers rebuild their lives after the devastation caused by the recent bushfires.”
For individuals wanting to show support, Colin says that the best way to help is through the Bega Mayoral Appeal Fund.
“The fund will provide further assistance to fire victims in their recovery over coming months and years and people can now donate directly at Bega Mayoral Appeal Fund.
“We are glad everyone is safe, give thanks for the tireless efforts of our firefighters and volunteers, and would like to let affected customers know that we are here to help.”
If you are a member of Bega or Pambula Community Bank and have been affected by the fires, or you know someone who is, please remember that financial difficulty assistance is available, including:
- Home Loan and Business Loan customers can apply for relief on loans for up to three months
- Credit card customers can apply for an emergency credit card limit increase
- Discounted interest rates on new personal loans taken out by existing Bendigo Bank customers
- Waiver of interest rate reduction for early withdrawals on term deposits prior to maturity
- No ‘loan break’ costs for customers with a fixed rate who use an insurance payment to pay out their loan
- Existing customers with home and contents insured through CGU Insurance may be able to claim for emergency funds and temporary accommodation costs
The Bank’s agribusiness specialist, Rural Bank, also provides a range of disaster assistance measures and will be working with impacted farming customers to understand their individual circumstances and apply the most effective means of support as they take the first steps towards recovery.
For more information, please speak with your local branch manager.
To learn more about how Community Banks work to support their local communities, please pop into any one of the Canberra Community Bank branches in:
Curtin: 1/20 Curtin Place, Curtin. Ph: 6260 5140
Jerrabomberra: 2a/2 Limestone Dr, Jerrabomberra. Ph: 6299 8357
Wanniassa: Wanniassa Shopping Centre, Sangster Place. Ph: 6231 9024
Calwell: Calwell Shopping Centre, Webber Crescent. Ph: 6291 3385
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