Thousands of fence posts donated to bushfire-affected farmers

Thousands of fence posts donated to bushfire-affected farmers

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Idea came to Matt Hardy during a family discussion.

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Matt Hardy at Yaven Creek, where fence posts have this week been donated to bushfire-affected farmers. Picture: Supplied

Matt Hardy at Yaven Creek, where fence posts have this week been donated to bushfire-affected farmers. Picture: Supplied

After Wagga man Matt Hardy's family farm was hit by the January bushfires, he wanted to do something to help others who were also affected.

The result is the Purchase a Post campaign, which has already seen more than 13,400 fence posts donated to bushfire-affected landowners. That's enough posts for almost 50 kilometres of fencing.

"My family farm is between Tumbarumba and Jingellic. We got impacted about four o'clock in the morning by the Green Valley fire, before the bushfires all joined up," Mr Hardy said.

"We lost probably 60 per cent of our country. There were no stock losses and the fire crews managed to save the house and the sheds.

"We lost some fences, but mainly it was pasture. We were pretty lucky, really."

Mr Hardy said the idea for Purchase a Post came after his sister Prue commented that she knew a lot of people in Sydney who, rather than just giving money, would prefer to make a donation of something tangible.

"She asked 'why can't we just buy some fence posts?' and I thought that was a great idea," he said.

The morning after this conversation, Mr Hardy approached his employers, Delta Ag, with the idea and won their immediate backing. Manufacturer Waratah Fencing also got behind the campaign.

As Delta Ag is not adding mark-up, the fence posts are priced at $6.25 each for people to buy and donate.

Matt Hardy with the Yavin Creek Rural Fire Service captain Jim Pearce. The RFS has provided feedback on what landowners might be interested in getting the fence posts.

Matt Hardy with the Yavin Creek Rural Fire Service captain Jim Pearce. The RFS has provided feedback on what landowners might be interested in getting the fence posts.

The fence posts are being donated to landowners in the Adelong, Batlow, Talbingo and Tumbarumba areas.

"It's been incredible really, the outpouring of support," Mr Hardy said.

"People have been phoning to make a donation from all over the place. We've had calls from companies right down to little kids coming in with their pocket money."

Mr Hardy said he and his colleagues had been working with fire crews and contacting landowners individually to offer them some of the donated posts.

So far, donated posts have been given to more than 70 landowners.

A second round of the fundraiser has been launched, with enough donations for 1500 posts already received.

"Fences are vital to the farms. You can't manage your stock without them, basically. You can't keep anything in," Mr Hardy said.

"I've been to a couple of farms where there are no boundary fences between three neighbours and stock are just wandering around everywhere.

"Trying to manage those and keep everything fed, especially when you are hand-feeding, means fences are vital."

Bushfire clean-up

With more than 2400 houses and thousands of other structures destroyed by bushfire in NSW this season, there is plenty of opportunity for local businesses to get involved.

Already more than 1000 local businesses across NSW have registered to deliver their services as part of the NSW and Federal Government funded clean-up of properties destroyed by the recent bushfires.

Deputy Premier John Barilaro said the government has appointed Laing O'Rourke as the lead contractor for the bushfire clean-up and as part of that agreement the company was working local subcontractors to keep jobs local.

"Not only do these suppliers and subbies have the local knowledge and expertise to get the job done, but the money earned by contractors will be spent locally, benefiting the wider community," Mr Barilaro said.

"The clean-up is already underway in Rainbow Flat, the Blue Mountains and Mogo, where a number of local tradies are hard at work clearing the properties of their friends and neighbours."

Laing O'Rourke is accepting expressions of interest from local businesses via the Service NSW website where companies need to provide a brief summary and description of what they do, as well as relevant certification to complete their registration for the clean-up.

The story Thousands of fence posts donated to bushfire-affected farmers first appeared on The Daily Advertiser.

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