News

PM flies in to fire disaster zone to meet with victims

FOR a few frightening hours, it looked as though flames were going to breach containment lines protecting Coonabarabran on Thursday but by late morning, firefighters reassured residents their town would be safe for another day.

It was a different story for families living on the outskirts of town and near the Warrumbungle National Park where 49 properties have now been confirmed lost.

Already, farmers have confirmed more than 5000 stock are dead and 110 sheds destroyed.

Heavy smoke is preventing firefighters from accessing remote areas and NSW Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said the damage bill was expected to rise significantly in coming days.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard flew into the heart of the disaster zone on Thursday to oversee fire co-ordination and meet with those who had lost everything.

She bought with her news that families in the Coonamble, Gilgandra and Warrumbungle regions who had been impacted by the fires were eligible for immediate disaster relief payments.

Families can claim payments of $1000 for each adult and $400 for each child.

Tax deductible status will be given to all relief funds established to help families in the Coonabarabran region.

An evacuation centre at the Coonabarabran Bowling Club will remain open 24 hours as conditions deteriorate from Friday.

The 45,000ha bush fire in the Warrumbungle National Park west of Coonabarabran remains the biggest threat.

A base camp has been set up at the Coonabarabran Racecourse for about 300 firefighters who have travelled from other areas to help. Air conditioned accommodation has been provided for the volunteers and last night alone, the community had supplied 300 steaks, 250 lamb chops, 800 sausages, 300 loaves of bread and 2700 eggs to the camp kitchen.

A total fire ban will be in place across most of the state on Friday as temperatures in some regions rise above 40degrees.

A map of affected areas is available at rfs.nsw.gov.au.

Disaster relief claims can be lodged at humanservices.gov.au/disaster of by calling 180 22 66.

More information on assistance can be found at disasterassist.gov.au.

Topics:  coonabarabran, disaster, fire, julia gillard



WATCH: Police release CCTV footage of Goodna robbery

An armed robbery took place at the IGA in Goodna at 6am this morning (27-9-16).

Masked men armed with large hammer hold up store

FINALS CHAT: The AT80 team talk NRL and Bears vs Cutters

FINALS CHAT: Manager of rugby league Ipswich Brendon Lindsay joins co-host Anthony 'Bomber' Breeze, host Ben Wilmott and special guest Colin Scott this week on After the 80.

Grand final spotlight should be on NRL heroics

Police remember fallen colleagues

Police Remembrance Day march to Brown's Park in North Ipswich on Thursday.

Police remember falen colleagues

Local Partners

Kim Kardashian West wants restraining order against prankster

She was attacked by Vitalii Sediuk for the second time in two years

Cliff Richard to release 101st album

Sir Cliff Richard's album cover

Sir Cliff Richard is to release his 101st album

CMC Rocks faces fan backlash over date change, headliners

The 10th annual CMC Rocks festival will be headlined by The Dixie Chicks.

FANS are not happy about festival being pushed back by two weeks.

Kim Kardashian West attacked by man trying to kiss her bottom

Vitalii Sediuk targeted Gigi Hadid last week

Madonna poses naked in solidarity with Katy Perry

Madonna posted her own nude selfie on Instagram

$40million hotel, shops development project for Mackay

Mt Pleasant hotel and retirement accommodation, proposed at 194-202 Malcomson St.

$40m development to take Mackay to 'the next level'

Housing report points to a lift in local market

AFFORDABLE HOMES: First home buyers have the opportunity to purchase modern new homes in the Ipswich region for under $400,000.

Region shaping up as the "final frontier” for affordable housing

Five ways to slash household bills and save the environment

THINK GREEN: Considering the environment when building or buying your next home can save you big dollars. The Village Building Company, who is responsible for Woodlinks Village at Collingwood Park, builds homes with this front of mind.

THERE is nothing as sweet as slashing dollars from your bills.

Investors out-bid first-home buyers in booming market

Housing generic.

Ipswich's housing market is putting more cash into sellers’ pockets

Another Ripley development

THE ENTRANCE: An overview of the last planned development for the fast growing Ripley area.

85 more home lots released