AusNet supports storm-affected communities in Gippsland

Gippsland is set to benefit as part of a $10 million AusNet fund recently established to support local recovery efforts after February’s storm event.

Some of the first beneficiaries of funding from AusNet’s Energy Resilience Community Fund include the Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund and local food security charity Sale Food Support Inc.

AusNet has donated $100,000 to the Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund (GERF), which has been supporting the region after natural disasters for more than four decades.

AusNet will also provide funding for the purchase of a refrigerated food transport van to help Sale Food Support Inc supply fresh food to more Wellington Shire families and individuals in need. This will allow the safe transport of perishable food such as meat and dairy products to families in Sale and surrounding areas.

In addition to the Community Fund, AusNet recently announced financial hardship grants are available to individuals and businesses that were without power for more than 72 hours and are not eligible for a Prolonged Power Outage payment. Over 800 residential customers have applied for the hardship grant since it was launched two weeks ago.

These grants are to primarily cover losses from spoiled refrigerated goods after the storms. Further information, including eligibility criteria and how to apply, is available on AusNet’s website.

AusNet Chief Executive Officer, David Smales, said the donations in Gippsland are part of AusNet’s commitment to supporting the local communities in which it operates in a way that is tailored to their specific needs and delivers a real and meaningful impact.

“GERF has been assisting the Gippsland community over many years during some of its most challenging times and we’re pleased to be able to support it in continuing this important work,” Mr Smales said.

"We know through our on-the-ground engagement in Gippsland that food security is a key challenge facing parts of the region, in particular the transport of fresh and perishable food to some of the most vulnerable in the community.

“Supporting Sale Food Support Inc in purchasing a refrigerated van will allow them to reach more people with more food and will make a lasting difference,” Mr Smales said./p>

GERF President Andy Tegart welcomed AusNet’s support.

“AusNet worked tirelessly to get thousands of individuals and families reconnected over a number of days,” Mr Tegart said.

“This donation is very much welcomed by GERF and will be put to good use in supporting some of those that have been hardest hit by February’s storm event.”

Sale Food Support Inc Vice President Terry Field also welcomed AusNet’s investment saying it would make a real difference to the local community./p>

“We know there’s plenty of people out there in the local community in Sale and surrounding areas facing challenges right now,” Mr Field said.

“A refrigerated van will make it easier for us to provide more food options to people and reach some of our most at-risk community members that haven’t previously been able to travel into Sale to access our services.”