Media Release by The Hon Bill Shorten MP

New Kitchen to Benefit Bushfire-Affected Communities in Gippsland

A new kitchen at the CATS Cricket Club in Traralgon South has hosted the first of many dinners for locals in the bushfire-affected area.

Parliamentary Secretary for Victorian Bushfire Reconstruction Bill Shorten attended the dinner and said the Traralgon South community had shown great determination to rebuild after last year’s bushfires.

“In the aftermath of the fires the Friday dinners at the cricket club became a tradition,” Mr Shorten said.

“They were a way for locals living in sheds and caravans, or who only returned to their properties on weekends, to get a hot meal and re-connect with their neighbours.

“Unfortunately the kitchens did not meet the hygiene standards required by the local council, and the dinners ended in October.

“The local community has told us that having the kitchen upgraded was their highest priority, and this project will be the first in the area to be completed using funding from the Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund.”

The fund has contributed $65,000 to the project. Work on the kitchen has been done by local firm Cheney Builders and equipment has been donated by Harvey Norman.

Mr Shorten thanked the Traralgon South Community Recovery Committee for their work on the project and on other reconstruction in the area.

“The committee is made up of locals, many of whom suffered their own losses, who have taken the time to become involved in the reconstruction effort and tell us what their community needs,” Mr Shorten said.

“Their efforts have been fantastic.”

The Traralgon South CRC represents Traralgon, Traralgon South, Callignee and Koornalla.

These areas suffered eight fatalities during the fires, and 130 properties were destroyed.