RRR collaboration still delivering benefits three years on

FRRR has announced the final recipients of its 2011 Repair-Restore-Renew (RRR) grant program. This program, which is funded by a collaboration of donors, was established to help those people affected by Cyclone Yasi, as well as the floods and storms that hit the east coast in 2011.

It has rolled out over the last two years, as communities identified areas where they needed help to recover from the effects of the natural disasters. Some projects, including those funded in this final round, will not conclude for another 12 months, meaning FRRR has been providing support for four years since the original event.

The RRR program is designed to support medium to long-term recovery of disaster-affected areas, and to help community groups continue their recovery journey, when the media's focus, and often support from government and the aid agencies that provide such valuable assistance immediately after an event, have moved on to other issues.

Through the 2011 RRR program, $1,468,836.67 was granted to 141 projects in Queensland and
New South Wales.  We are also hoping to support two projects in Victoria which are trying to secure co-funding.

Qld / NSW Program Manager, Annie Wright, says that there have already been many positive stories about the outcomes from previous RRR grants.

"We have already seen the direct impact of this funding, and the impact will continue to be felt. Sadly, the conclusion of our program doesn't mean that recovery is now complete, and we will continue to support communities through our other grant programs. However, Repair-Restore-Renew has helped to meet important community needs and help communities repair critical community assets, and build community resilience. We look forward to reporting on the outcomes of the latest projects to receive funding."

FRRR is currently fundraising to implement a similar program to help communities affected by the fires, storms and flooding early in 2013. We are also establishing a program to support those affected by the NSW fire emergency that is still unfolding. If you wish to help, contact FRRR on 03 5430 2399 or 1800 170 020,  or donate online.

A summary of the twenty-one projects that have received funding is below.

Recipient Project Grant Amount

Queensland projects

Cardwell Chamber of Commerce Inc.

Cardwell’s First Step – from devastation to restoration

Cyclone Yasi was unkind to the small beachside town of Cardwell in North Queensland. Over 18 months, beginning in 2011, residents and business people worked with a team from Griffith University to create the Cardwell & District strategic action plan 2012-2030. This grant will support a part-time coordinator to progress the action plan, establish an office, and secure longer term funding for a project manager to see the action plan through to fruition.


Bowen Men’s Shed Inc.

A tool drive

Bowen is located in the cyclone belt and was flooded in 2011 and 2013. The local Men’s Shed, which has a strong focus on the health and wellbeing of its members and associates, has hosted two presentations / workshops that focus on preparedness for cyclones and flooding. The newly formed Shed (March 2012) will use the grant to purchase a grinder bench, wrench set, bandsaws and a long list of tools needed for this new group.


Eacham Community Help Organisation

Cool Tools

Eacham Community Help Organisation (ECHO) has a house and yard maintenance business that assists elderly and disabled in the Malanda area to prepare their properties for cyclone and storm season. They also help clean up after extreme weather events. The area is often isolated following these events, and having a local provider to assist in clearing away debris quickly is an important community service, especially for the elderly and incapacitated. With this grant, ECHO will purchase a lawn mower, chainsaw, pressure cleaner and brush cutter.


FNQuadriders Inc.

Quad riders to the rescue

After Cyclone Yasi, local quad riders helped to remove fallen trees and debris from homes and businesses. The quad bikes were able to get into places that standard vehicles could not, then chain-sawing fallen trees and dragging them to a safe place. This grant will fund Certificate 1 and 2 training for 10 keen quad bike riders who are willing to assist in future disaster events.


Goondiwindi and District Community Garden, trading as Gundy’s Community Garden

Planting Together, Growing Together, Thriving Together

Goondiwindi was isolated by the flood waters of 2011. The enthusiastic community garden group will use this grant to construct a bush tucker garden. The community garden is above the flood line and can provide some food security for local residents. It involves people of all ages and the committee plans to host markets on site in the future selling fresh produce, local products and crafts.


Lockyer Valley Community Activities Shed Incorporated

Activities Shed expansion

The Lockyer Valley experienced some of the worst flooding on record in 2011 and 2013. The Lockyer Valley Community Activities Shed has nearly trebled in numbers since its inception in 2011 and needs room to expand. The grant will enable a second-hand donga to be located beside the existing shed, providing an additional ‘quiet’ space for participants to work. The Shed offers a safe place for people to share their flood stories and support each other.


Millstream South Rural Fire Brigade

Secure power and communications

Communities in the cyclone belt frequently experience power outages from fallen trees. It is a particularly serious problem for the local rural fire brigade (RFB), as when VHF radio batteries go flat the RFB volunteers are without radio communication. The grant will fund a battery maintainer to extend the shelf life of the expensive batteries; a power generator; and a multi-media television to assist with training and operational briefings.


Mission Beach Tourism Inc.

An online wellness information hub

Mission Beach has been affected by a series of cyclones and floods over the past seven years. Local businesses want to promote their wellness industry to locals and tourists. The grant enables the creation of an online information hub and directory, listing all the wellness businesses in the local area, plus all the health and wellbeing related activities. Businesses owners will update the directory and believe it will make life easier for anyone wanting to find a local health and wellbeing service.


Our place Wellness Centre Inc.

Let’s go fishing

Recent cyclones and flood events have had a negative impact on the economy and employment, and on mental health. Being active and getting outdoors can assist those suffering from mental illness. The Fishing Innisfail Support and Help group supports people with mental illness. The small fishing program is proving popular and medicinal. The grant enables the purchase of additional fishing equipment to reduce the barriers to participate and increase the long-term sustainability of the group.


St George Men’s Shed Inc.

Up, up and away

In 2011 St George was severely flooded. The local nursing home was evacuated with residents displaced for more than 12 months. The Men’s Shed is a popular venue but due to poor disabled access to the toilet and an unsafe access path, many members with mobility constraints are unable to visit for long. This grant will provide disabled access to the restroom facilities enabling members and visitors to participate for as long as they like.


Mount Whitestone School P&C Association

Finishing touches

Mt Whitestone, in the Lockyer Valley, was cut-off by flood waters in 2011 with no nearby evacuation centre for residents. The school P&C secured funding to build a multi-purpose healthy learning building, so students can cook and undertake science activities. The building is also used for a range of community activities and is now the official evacuation centre. The grant will assist in completing the final building works including two roller doors to seal the outer room from the elements.


Lower Herberton Kindergarten Parent Association Inc.

Saved from the sun

Cyclone Yasi destroyed the shade trees that surrounded the kindergarten playground. The grant will fund the purchase of a large shade structure to cover the children’s playground. The structure is designed to be easily removed during extreme weather events.


Volunteering Qld

The Natural Disasters Resilience Leadership project

This grant will fund a four-day leadership course in two rural and remote areas of Queensland that were impacted by the 2011 severe weather events. The four-day capacity building workshop is designed to provide up to 30 participants per location with the opportunity to develop their leadership skills and strengthen their knowledge of effective disaster management.


Cardwell & District Historical Society Incorporated

Museum rescue

The Cardwell Museum was severely damaged by Cyclone Yasi and the ensuing rain. As one of the oldest towns in North Queensland, Cardwell celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2014. The Historical Society is keen to finalise the restoration of the exhibits, and to train local volunteers in disaster management, collection management and conservation techniques to be better prepared for future extreme weather events. The funding enables two Museum Development Officers who have been working with the Cardwell group to provide the training and expertise to complete the necessary tasks.


Emerald Art Group Inc.

Enhanced fundraising capacity

This well-established Art Group fosters development of artistic and creative skills within their community. The grant will fund stackable chairs, roller chairs, whiteboard, laptop and printing. The new equipment provides greater opportunity to hire out the facilities to external organisations, providing an additional income stream for the group. 


Kurrimine Beach Progress, Recreation and Sporting Association Inc.

Greater security improves Progress Association’s income

When Cyclone Yasi hit Kurrimine Beach it took the roof off the hall, exposing the inside to rain and wind damage. The hall was closed for more than 12 months during the restoration, and fortuitously most of the repair costs were covered by insurance. Subsequently the hall has been vandalised. This grant will allow the installation of security screens and security doors, which will reduce the risk of vandalism and ensure the hall is ready for hire at all times. 


Redeemer Lutheran Church Laidley

Painting over the past

Laidley was severely impacted by flood waters in 2011 and again in 2013. The Church Hall was spared inundation in 2011 but silt, debris and crop vegetation were left on the walkways and stairs. Shovelling removed the debris and silt, and hard scrubbing took off the fine dirt left behind. This all damaged the timber and paintwork. The grant will fund repainting the damaged walkways and stairs. 


University of Sunshine Coast

Reducing supply chain vulnerability following extreme weather

University researchers will capture the lessons learnt from the 2011 flooded community of the Mary Valley in relation to the distribution of local and supermarket-based food. The project will record people’s experiences and identify ways to enhance resilience through social learning and community connectivity. The funding includes hosting two community movie nights to screen the video vignettes captured during the interviews.  These events will help to embed the key lessons and actions into community resilience plans.


Halifax State School P&C Association

Shading active kids

Cyclone Yasi’s wind whipped through the large established shade trees at Halifax State School, destroying the generational pine trees. The majority of trees were removed due to safety concerns, leaving a barren school yard without protection from the harsh north Queensland sun. The small community has struggled to raise the necessary funds for a shade structure and this grant will enable the installation of a 7m x 11m semi-permanent structure.


New South Wales projects

Dorrigo Plateau Community Inc.

Let’s Weld Together

The agricultural sector and local businesses around Dorrigo were severely affected by the 2011 floods. Local residents need someone to weld damaged gates, furniture and mailboxes. To raise funds, the Men’s Shed members do these kinds of repairs. With this grant the group can purchase two pairs of double-sided portable welding screens, safety equipment and a special welding rod dry cabinet. This additional equipment means they can do more small welding jobs and generate a regular income to cover The Shed’s operational costs. The chief welder will also run welding courses to help local youth improve their employment prospects.


Urunga Neighbourhood Centre Incorporated

The Drips are Getting Bigger

The Urunga Men’s Shed has been busy since its inception in September 2011, amalgamating and renovating two sheds, which were donated by the local Council. The floods in both 2011 and 2013 reduced fundraising capacity for the group, which plays an important role in supporting people still recovering from the floods. This grant will allow them to replace the leaking roof, ensuring the recently plastered walls and equipment are protected from water leaks.


Victorian projects

Nullawil Recreation Reserve Committee

Kitchen Upgrade*

The Nullawil Recreation Reserve's facilities are the only community meeting place in the small town of Nullawil and each weekend, over 100 meals are produced from the kitchen. Following the 2011 floods, plans for the kitchen refurbishment were put on hold so that community resources could be put towards supporting the relief and recovery. With the community back on its feet, the much-needed kitchen refurbishment is the key priority for the town.


Natimuk Agricultural & Pastoral Society

Accessible toilets – Renew our Facilities*

Natimuk was directly impacted by the floods in January 2012, with at least a dozen homes evacuated and widespread damage caused to homes, businesses and community infrastructure. The current toilet facilities at the Showgrounds, which is one of the main community meeting venues, are damaged and not adequate for functional, safe and hygienic use. The new facilities are also necessary, as the Showgrounds are an evacuation point and Neighbourhood Safer Place in any future emergencies in the town of Natimuk.


* The grant to these groups will only be provided if they can raise additional funds from other sources to complete their projects.

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