Northampton region tour
The Governor with Northampton farmers Chris and Pam Hazelby

Community talks in Northampton in the wake of Cyclone Seroja

It’s been three and a half months since Tropical Cyclone Seroja tore through WA’s Mid West leaving a trail of destruction through Kalbarri, Northampton and surrounding regions

Today the Governor travelled to Northampton, located 50 km north of Geraldton, to check in on residents and to hear first-hand how the town and surrounding areas are recovering.

A gathering at the Northampton Community Centre saw the Governor meet with business owners, residents, farmers, Northampton Chamber of Commerce, Shire of Northampton and Mid West Development Corporation representatives. Many shared their stories and their ongoing achievements and challenges with the Governor providing an often raw but valuable insight into what they still need and want to help get back on their feet.

“Every now and then when you’re in this job you get absolutely inspired by fellow West Australian’s and that’s been my day today, talking to the people who took the hit of Cyclone Seroja,” said the Governor. “The damage was extraordinary, though fundamental early repairs have been made. They’ve been helping each other with everybody putting their shoulder to the wheel.”

The Governor then travelled to a number of farms on the outskirts of Northampton to check in on residents and to see what impact the Category 3 cyclone has had on the farming community. Many farmers have only recently started their clean-up after pouring all their time and energy into their crop seeding season which coincided with the Cyclone’s arrival.

Farmers like Ben Williams who lost seven sheds and a house in the cyclone and is now in a race against time to rebuild as quickly as possible, whilst also juggling his day to day farming deadlines.

Chris and Pam Hazelby and Jess Horstman are also counting the cost of damage but are pushing on working around damaged farm buildings and fallen trees. Jess, husband Rob and kids are just getting back into their newly repaired home now, having been living with her parents since April.

“Farmers have lost machinery, and sheds so other farmers have stepped in to help. Other people volunteering to assist. It’s been an inspirational visit, but also to a degree a troubling day as the complaints about facets of access to insurance and expectations placed on those whose homes and properties have been damaged by some insurers really are quite worrying.”

“We’re concerned and focused on the needs of the people who put so much into our economy and so much into creating such a wonderful and lovely community in this part of WA.”

Many thanks to all residents who were willing to share their stories, and thanks also to Anne Finlay from the Mid West Development Commission for organising the visit.

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