As more than 100 fires burn across Queensland, a northern community in the Mackay region claims it has been all but forgotten as it continues to battle a large and destructive bushfire.
Some residents living in Bloomsbury have expressed dismay at the lack of direction and assistance provided by authorities since a large blaze broke out in the area that has razed grazing land and killed livestock — and they are currently still battling it.
“I have had support from a Federal level, I have spoken to our State representative and I have heard nothing from council,” Christine Kinnear said.
Ms Kinnear is the president of the Bloomsbury Soldiers’ Memorial Hall and has been helping prepare food and drinks for tired farmers and crews while her husband has been out fighting fires.
Mackay Regional Council acts as the local disaster control centre for the region, but Ms Kinnear said the community has not heard from them and feel they have been left to direct their own emergency.
“I have nobody here,” she said.
Ms Kinnear said help was around, but it was not coming from outside the community.
“Locally, [there has been a] great lot of support, fantastic donations rolling in, but no one who can point me in the right direction,” she said.
Ms Kinnear said they understood that areas where residential homes were under threat were a higher priority than pastoral land, but that the community still felt a little lost in the chaos as they battled the fires and tried to protect their properties and livelihood.
“I don’t mean to whinge, I know they are busy in other places,” Ms Kinnear said.
“I am just trying to look out for my guys here.
“A little bit of help would be nice.”
Christine Kinnear said the community was feeling a little neglected in the chaos of the QLD fires (ABC News: Tom Forbes )
No requests for help from Bloomsbury
Greg Williamson, Mayor of the Mackay Regional Council, which runs the local disaster management group, said they were not called to Bloomsbury.
“We knew the fire was there, we have had no request for assistance,” Councillor Williamson said.
“We got onto it yesterday, we know the fire has many fronts up there, it is a big fire.
“We now know that there have been rural fire brigades on the ground there, attempting to save properties, attempting to save rural assets.”
Drought and destruction
Member for Dawson George Christensen had put the call out for help for the community, asking for donations of farm material.
“Bloomsbury has felt a little bit forgotten but the help is there now,” Mr Christensen said.
“I have seen some of these properties, they have been nearly completed razed of all grass, some of them where the cattle have been burnt alive — or the cattle have run into dams and died because they were desperate to get out of the fire.
“It is actually devastating just to talk to a couple of those farmers up there and they just don’t know what they are going to do.”
Sue McLean lost 90 per cent of her 2,000 acre property to fire, and she said it was about to get even tougher for drought-stricken farmers.
“Moving forward it is going to be very difficult feeding cattle and keeping cattle alive,” Ms McLean said.
Ms Kinnear said the community was staying strong despite feeling neglected.
“We are coping and that is because of who and what we are made of,” she said.