Department of Human Services

Yorketown Bushfire Recovery Newsletter #2 - 31 March 2020

In this issue


Welcome to Edition 2 of the Yorketown fire recovery newsletter.

Recovery from major fires such as Sampson Flat and Pinery involved many opportunities for people to come together as a community, support each other and learn from each other. The risks of COVID-19 (coronavirus) means this is currently not possible and there have been cancellations or postponements of some scheduled events.

We appreciate the work that has been put into these events and hope that they can be held later in the year. In the meantime, although we as a recovery team are less visible than we normally would be, we are only a phone call or an email away and are happy to help wherever we can.

While the impact of COVID-19 is being felt strongly across the world right now, and is also changing the way we recover and rebuild in the wake of the bushfires, be assured the recovery and rebuilding efforts will not stop.

With Debbie Richardson on leave until late April, don’t hesitate to contact me, Kate Martin, on 0402 133 044 with any recovery queries.

State Bushfire Recovery Coordinator

Margot Forster was recently appointed State Bushfire Recovery Coordinator, in addition to her role as State Lead, Disaster Rebuilding and Resilience. Margot knows the task to rebuild is significant and will take years, not months. “We are in this for the long haul, and we will be here to support you regardless of what else is happening in the world,” she said recently.

“Everyone involved in the rebuild effort is committed to working together to get the best outcomes for you and for our State. This includes the State Government, Commonwealth Government, local councils and all the non-government partners who are dedicated to helping you through your recovery and rebuilding.”

While the Local Recovery Coordinator remains your primary recovery contact, you can reach Margot and her team via email.

Local funding

Many generous community donations totalling nearly $92,000 were paid into the Bushfire recovery account at the Police Credit Union. The majority of this money has now been distributed to local people who lost their home, other property or income due to the fire. A small amount of money has been set aside for funding community events. Any groups wanting to hold a fire recovery related community event can apply for up to $150 from this fund. Obviously any events will only be held after COVID 19 restrictions are lifted.

New grant available

The Wyatt Trust, based in Adelaide, administers a charitable trust to assist South Australians in financial hardship purchase essential services and equipment. This year, The Wyatt Trust is offering specific grants to households impacted by the bushfires in SA.

Anyone who needs assistance replacing essential equipment lost in the fire or assistance for essential goods and services are invited to apply for up to $1,000 towards the expense of the item or service.  You must be able to demonstrate financial hardship as a result of the fires to be eligible.

If you think you may be eligible, or to find out further information, please contact Kate on 0402 133 044, please do not contact The Wyatt Trust directly.

For other grants and assistance visit the Grants and Assistance page.

Feeling overhwelmed?

The last few weeks have been something we never would have thought we would have to contend with – locally, we have had fire and now a virus which is affecting more than just Yorke Peninsula.

A few simple things we can do to help us through:

  1. If you are feeling a little overwhelmed, lonely, anxious or fearful – start a journal, write down how you feel and express what you wish onto paper.  This gets it out of your head, freeing up your brain space.
  2. If you are feeling very overwhelmed, lonely, anxious or fearful – seek help.  We have many people in our community who are able to help you.
  3. Write a list of things you can do at home or on the farm.
  4. The media can exhaust you – best to listen to just one news report in the morning and one in the evening. This is enough to keep you informed of any updates. If you like background noise, put on some music.
  5. Avoid too much social media on the topic. Social media e.g. Facebook can be a wonderful way to keep in touch with friends, but can quickly become overwhelming and unhelpful.

Hoping these small adjustments can help you through til the next Newsletter.

For support, please contact:

Kay Barlow – Family and Business Mentor

0417 807 933 – advising, listening and helping community members through overwhelming and difficult situations and decision making.

Rural Business Support 1800 836 211

Delivering information and support in a way that suits the situation.

Health Direct 1800 022 222

Webinar – looking after yourself, family, friends and community

Disaster expert Dr Rob Gordon is joining Red Cross for a webinar to talk about how we recover from bushfire while responding to COVID-19.

Join us to hear him discuss what to expect in the longer term and answer some of your questions.

Tuesday 7 April 2020, 2.00 pm to 4.00 pm AEST, online via Zoom.


Send your questions for Dr Gordon

The session will be recorded, so if you can’t make this time don’t worry – we will share a link to the recording once available, through the newsletter.

Small business information

Looking for consolidated information on what support is available for small businesses in South Australia in response to COVID-19?

Subscribe to an e-newsletter covering new announcements, advice, general information, webinars and other resources.

Visit the website

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Burn offs

It is that time of year again when some farmers will be carrying out burn offs on their properties in readiness for this year’s crop.

If you see or smell smoke, before calling 000, please check on the Yorke Peninsula Council website to ensure that it isn’t a scheduled burn off by a farmer.

Planning assistance

Communities and councils directly impacted by the summer 2019-20 bushfires can access the new Bushfire Recovery Planning and Building Assessment Program. This provides a range of exemptions and streamlined pathways for rebuild activities including demolition, temporary storage, temporary accommodation, and new building construction to help affected communities get back on their feet.

As part of the program, a Planning and Building Assessment Recovery Unit is assisting people with preparing and lodging applications, as well as guiding them through the assessment process from start to finish.

The Unit has been established by the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure in collaboration with the Country Fire Service and affected councils, and can be contacted on:

The new ‘Planning and Building Assessment Fact Sheet’ can be downloaded from the SA Planning Portal,

and is also available from the SYP Hub and the council. The fact sheet outlines the State Government’s approved amendments to the Development Regulations. The webpage also provides an overview of the amendments that have been made.

Communities engaged in rebuild efforts are encouraged to contact the Planning and Building Recovery Unit or their council for more information.

COVID-19 (coronavirus)

This is a challenging time for many. The advice from government in response to the COVID-19 virus has made us all rethink the way we interact within the recovery space.

There are things we can all do to minimise the risk of spread:

  • Stay home and avoid contact with others, especially if you are unwell. As at 30 March, gatherings of 10 people or fewer are allowed in South Australia, provided that social distancing guidelines are adhered to, although limiting the number of people gathering to two is encouraged.
  • Wash your hands regularly, for at least twenty seconds, using soap.
  • If you are unable to access soap, use hand sanitiser.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your elbow.
  • Wipe down frequently touched surfaces.

For more information on minimising risk, visit

If you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • fever
  • coughing
  • sore throat
  • fatigue
  • shortness of breath

isolate yourself and contact your GP for advice. If you are having difficulty breathing, immediately call 000.

There is a dedicated South Australian COVID-19 information hotline.
Phone 1800 253 787 between 8.00 am and 8.00 pm, seven days a week.

You can also find up to date information at the SA Government COVID-19 website


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Page last updated : 01 May 2020

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