I got a call from a bloke recently about the plight of someone he knows that has a Mr Fluffy House. He was seeking information on a particular problem facing his friend and didn’t know where to go. I gave him a few ideas.
His issue was that his friend had to rent a house while when his was demolished until he could get into another one, whether it be the same block or another home altogether, neither of which materialise overnight. That wasn’t the issue but finding a rental property where he could take his pair of dogs was. Landlords aren’t all that amenable when it comes to pets.
I remembered that similar problems occurred when people had to find another home whilst rebuilding after the 2003 bushfires.
We remember the trauma the fires themselves delivered but also we remember in the recovery stage, attention was paid to the unique circumstances the 500 families faced. We arranged counselling, gave financial assistance and a range of supports to enable folks to be rehoused temporarily and to get on with their own particular recovery.
Similar circumstances are in play now.
Thanks to the Mr Fluffy debacle, families are traumatised at the idea of losing their beloved homes. This time it is over 1,000 families.
They face the same problems. We need to bring the same solutions to their doorsteps.
Interestingly, a fire is a natural disaster and the feds came to the party in part. This time the best they can do is a low interest loan. Wow, such generosity. Talk about abrogation of culpability!
When self-government was forced on the ACT, the financial handout from the Commonwealth to pay for whole of life costs of assets was minimal, actually nil. The assets of government housing were transferred to the ACT but through a loan to be paid back over many years.
The transfer of governance was accompanied by an abrogation of financial responsibility for the ongoing costs of running the Territory.
So why am I surprised to see the Commonwealth’s attitude to the Mr Fluffy problem. The issue was on their watch. They should be accepting of their responsibility in this regard. The ACT Government should be responsible for the personal welfare of the victims and the Commonwealth should pay for the bricks and mortar rehabilitation of those families.
All this has been said before but the conversation with this bloke brought the 2003 bushfire experience back to me.