Geraldton Seroja recovery sessions draw a large crowd of first-time enquirers

Phoebe PinMidwest Times
State recovery controller Melissa Pexton in Geraldton.
Camera IconState recovery controller Melissa Pexton in Geraldton. Credit: Phoebe Pin/Geraldton Guardian/RegionalHUB

More than 12 months on from cyclone Seroja, many Mid West families, farmers and businesses affected by the disaster are only now starting to seek advice on how to rebuild their lives.

Geraldton recently acted as a one-stop shop for those on the road to recovery to pick the brains of legal experts, insurance specialists, building industry authorities, and State and local government representatives.

It was the first time the program has run in Geraldton, with similar sessions held in Kalbarri and Northampton in the last week of May.

DFES deputy commissioner for strategy and management Melissa Pexton said 15 of the 40 families who attended the recent Mid West sessions were asking for help for the first time since the April 2021 storm.

“We are still seeing those numbers up there where people are only just coming to terms with what support is available,” she said.

“I think we do still face that beautiful resilience in country communities but as time is moving on, people are realising the time it does take to recover, and that accessing help may assist them.”

Community recovery hubs are still open across the Mid West for those in need of face-to-face support, but Ms Pexton said DFES would also look at Geraldton as a future centre for delivering expert advice to people recovering from Seroja.

“What was interesting is some of the people from those smaller shires were in Geraldton on their normal business and came to one of these meetings,” she said.

“We have certainly been making sure we are face-to-face with people on the ground but this is another means for us to link in with them as they come in (to Geraldton).”

Ms Pexton said there would be another round of Seroja recovery sessions in July.

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