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Maintenance Team Spearheads GEGAC Storm Response

A few members of GEGAC’s Property, Maintenance and Cleaning team, Graham Hubbard, Corrina Harrison, Willy Hood and Aunty Jackie Ritchie.

Emergency services across Victoria have had their hands full these past two weeks as restoration and cleanup work continues in the aftermath of a short but powerful storm on Tuesday, Feb. 13.

For local health organisations like GEGAC, it was also a time when our community outreach and support services kicked into high gear.

Within hours of the storm bringing trees down and disrupting power to thousands of homes in our community, GEGAC’s Infrastructure and Maintenance team got out the chainsaws and mops and did what had to be done to get all services back open and safe for staff and community.

The emergency response effort was directed by GEGAC’s executive team which met regularly that week to assess the current situation and address the most urgent needs.

A few GEGAC buildings were damaged during the storm, most notably our Dala Yooro kindergarten and Nungurra youth accommodation, which were inundated by water.

On the Wednesday our maintenance crew worked hard to get Dala Yooro dried out and ready for families as soon as possible, and our Corporate Services team worked extra hours that evening to make sure the young people displaced by damage to Nungurra had a safe place to sleep.

Without power, our Brabuwooloong medical and dental service was closed on Wednesday, and all appointments rescheduled.

“In moments like these it was terrific to see mob looking after each other.”

GEGAC CEO Kenton Winsley.

One of our primary concerns on the Wednesday and Thursday was making sure that our Elders and any vulnerable or isolated people in community were okay.

Power outages, fallen trees and water damage were making the simplest of everyday tasks a real problem, and it was important to us that people in community weren’t stuck without food and hot water, and that their homes were safe and secure.

In most instances, the power of family and community did the job.

“In moments like these it was terrific to see mob looking after each other,” said GEGAC CEO Kenton Winsley. “By Wednesday morning there weren’t too many people out there in community that hadn’t already been called on by family. It was great to hear all the stories of mob looking after their Elders, calling round in community to see if anyone needed anything. That powerful form of crisis response has been happening within Aboriginal families for many, many generations, and it’s still in full effect here today.”

For those GEGAC clients who did need a bit of help with food or basic necessities after the storm, Brooke Harkensee and her Elders and HACC team got on the phone, got in their cars and provided whatever support was needed.

Mob out at Lake Tyers were particularly hard hit, and so GEGAC was happy to contribute to a delivery of water, milk and basic supplies out there.

If your home or business was impacted by last week’s storm, you may be eligible for financial assistance.

More info at

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