Sisters step up application process

Registration pack developed for Sisters of the North funds

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Shelley Curr, Wensley Station, Julia Creek, Susan Dowling Sisters of the North, Cloncurry, and Patrice Elliott, Karoola Station, Winton, at the announcement of the new assistance registration pack.

Shelley Curr, Wensley Station, Julia Creek, Susan Dowling Sisters of the North, Cloncurry, and Patrice Elliott, Karoola Station, Winton, at the announcement of the new assistance registration pack.

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In a flagship moment for the Sisters of the North, the charity that has been the rallying call for many north west Queenslanders needing help after the flood, it has registration packs now available.

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Community groups and those in exceptional circumstances not covered by typical assistance have now been added to the list of beneficiaries under the Sisters of the North flood recovery program.

In a flagship moment for the charity that has been the rallying call for many north west Queenslanders needing help after the flood, it has announced that registration packs now available.

The organisation has been distributing emergency funds so far via an Australia-first SMS system texting voucher codes for recognition at local shops.

Sisters of the North organiser Susan Dowling said that program, using community ambassadors to identify people in need, had been an interim arrangement based on local knowledge to quickly get donated money circulating among small businesses in the affected towns.

"This is more structured now," she said. "We are extremely proud to announce that our registration packs for funding are available."

LiveVoucher will still be the way money is delivered - it's how the money is apportioned that will change with this new system.

Applications can be accessed a number of ways, either through the SotN website or via an SMS/email automatically sent from the SotN database retrieved from shire council databases shared under a Confidential Share Agreement, or from other agencies helping reach out to as many eligible people as possible.

"If you already have a LiveVoucher account issued by a Sisters of the North ambassador or business, you'll still need to complete this application form and return to us to be eligible for further information," Ms Dowling elaborated.

The group has identified four sectors for assistance - station owners/managers, full-time station employees, community events, and exceptional circumstances.

The criteria for those applying for assistance in the first two categories is that people have lost livestock, had infrastructure damage, or have participated in carcass disposal programs.

Ms Dowling said it was up to station owners to nominate those who'd been their station workers up to March 1 this year.

In addition to the LiveVoucher system, the group has decided to allocate some of its funds to events that are strengthening connectivity and resilience.

"Community events and in particular grass roots, locally inspired initiatives are entitled and encouraged to apply and receive funds," Ms Dowling said.

A maximum $5000 is available for each event, after assessment by the SotN board, and organisers need to be assured that goods and services will be purchased locally. Applicants will have to provide two letters of support, one preferably from their local shire council.

Organisers wanted to have this category because they knew the sponsorship opportunities available to community event organisers would be impacted by the downturn left in the wake of the flooding.

Ms Dowling said they were focusing on those whose grounds had been damaged first of all.

"Our underlying reasoning for all our decisions is to keep communities connected," she said. "A psychology workshop I attended said the number one thing you can do for yourself is to stay connected."

A final funding category that an amount of money has been set aside for is exceptional circumstances.

Ms Dowling said individuals whose circumstances didn't fall into the categories above could confidentially apply, or people could be nominated by community members, and that the exceptional circumstance must directly relate to the impact of the flooding.

There is a July 31 deadline and organisers hope to have decisions made within a four-week turnaround.

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