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Helping communities affected by natural disasters

Proserpine State High School receiving a $10,000 Natural Disaster Recovery Grant


11 Feb 2019


In early 2017, category 4 Tropical Cyclone Debbie hit Northern NSW and South East Queensland. To help impacted communities recover and build resilience, Westpac announced $100,000 in Natural Disaster Recovery Grants, with 11 local organisations receiving grants of up to $10,000.


Since then, the funds have been used across a variety of recovery projects, directly benefiting almost 7,000 people.


At Proserpine State High School, Westpac’s $10,000 grant was used for new projectors, screens and cabling in the school hall - the only space large enough for local community events. “I was extremely proud to be able to present this grant and be part of something so rewarding,” says Jane Tissington, Bank Manager at the Westpac’s Proserpine branch.


"We appreciate this grant very much,” said Don McDermid, Principal at Proserpine State High School. “It not only benefitted our school but also the Whitsunday community and will continue to do so for many years.”


“The hall is not only used by the school but is also hired regularly by community organisations. As the local Proserpine Entertainment Centre was damaged in the cyclone, the school hall is the only facility open for hosting events and productions to cater for the needs of our community.”


Outcomes from other projects funded include:

  • Wind turbines to power local communication signals used for search and rescue activities through the Cyclone Debbie Offshore Communications Reinstatement project
  • 40 individuals and families who lost belongings or moved to a new house supported with essential household items through Connecting Home Flood Initiative
  • 180 vouchers provided to ease financial pressures on families purchasing school shoes through The Feet First Project
  • 2,000 people attending a cyclone anniversary event in Lismore, bringing strength and support to the community in partnership with the Lismore City Council, SES and Red Cross through Lismore Helping Hands –Recovery & Preparedness Project.


Support for customers affected by North Queensland flooding and Tasmanian bushfires

To assist customers suffering hardship as a result of flooding in North Queensland or fires in Tasmania, Disaster Relief Packages are available. The Package offers various options including deferred repayments, loan restricting, discounted interest rates for personal loans etc. All Westpac branches are also able to receive cash donations to support those impacted by flooding and bushfires.


About the Natural Disaster Recovery Fund

Westpac’s Natural Disaster Recovery Fund was established in 2013 to help community organisations build resilience and recover from natural disasters. It builds on over 200 years of Westpac support for communities in need, beginning with the launch of Australia’s first disaster relief fund in 1817 to support victims of the Hawkesbury River Flood.


In addition to the Natural Disaster Recovery Fund, Westpac is also working to help make Australian communities safer and more resilient to natural disasters as a member of the Australian Business Roundtable for Natural Disasters and Communities Resilience, a collaboration between business and the Australian Red Cross. As part of this partnership, Westpac is promoting the use of the Get Prepared app in its Queensland branches. Downloaded over 12,000 times since late August 2018, the app helps people prepare for disasters by establishing their key support network and creating an emergency plan.


More information