At Carter O’Neill Legal our thoughts are with all those effected by the devastating bushfires, with lives lost and property damaged or destroyed.
Here in NSW, it is reported that 20 lives have been lost, more than 1400 homes have been destroyed, livestock and wildlife have perished and more than four million hectares of bushland across the state have burnt. The danger is still very real and present, with many fires still out of control or being controlled.
For many who have been affected by the fires, or who have lost everything, the challenges to rebuild will be substantial and ongoing.
In this time of need, it has been heartening to see our communities band together to assist those in need. From our amazing Firefighters with the Rural Fire Brigade to everyday Australians donating and raising awareness.
As we all persevere in the face of these catastrophic fires, now is the time to reach out and provide what assistance we can to help people recover and rebuild. From a legal perspective, help can be provided in relation to insurance, housing or tenancy issues, accessing credit and employment or social security, as people rebuild their homes, their businesses and their livelihood.
For those impacted by the bushfires, Legal Aid NSW is currently providing free, practical legal assistance to help these people recover and rebuild. The LawAccess NSW Disaster Response Hotline is 1800 801 529 or go to www.legalaid.nsw.gov.au.
The Law Society is working with private practitioners, the NSW Attorney General’s Office, Legal Aid NSW and the NSW Bar Association to formulate a statewide pro bono legal assistance capability to ensure a timely response as the emergency enters the recovery phase.
For those able to help, donations can be made to the following charities:
Supporting thousands of people in evacuation centres and recovery hubs across Australia.
The only food relief organisation to play a role in times of emergency and natural disasters such as fires, floods and cyclones.
Emergency services for volunteer fire fighters.
Emergency fund for wildlife.
Helpful links include:
A new website is helping families affected by fire find a temporary place to stay.
Gather My Crew is an Australian charity that provides free technology to help people activate support crews during tough times.The online roster and communication tool encourages people to identify the help they need and invite their community of friends and family to lend a hand. Support crews can be set up in a matter of minutes and often run for many months as they adjust to the changing needs of a family.
For our small part, we will be proving what legal assistance we can, taking on Legal Aid matters to provide legal assistance and help referring people on to pro bono legal schemes.
Contact us if you need legal assistance.