Preschools in the northern rivers region have been devastated by recent flooding, with some inundated up to their roofs. Some will have to be demolished.
Help Support flood affected preschools
Many of the preschools had just been rebuilt following previous serious flooding in the area just five years ago.
The Northern Rivers Preschool Alliance, which includes many IEU members, has set up a Go Fund Me page appealing for financial support for rebuilding and replacement of lost equipment.
The Alliance is a not-for-profit organisation representing 42 state-funded preschools on the far north coast, from Grafton in the south, Tweed in the north and west to Tabulam.
Evans Head Preschool teacher Cath Gillespie said it was crucial that preschools were able to start operating as soon as possible, as children needed somewhere to go and be heard, to process their trauma.
The Alliance Facebook page said an estimated 1000 children won’t be able to go to preschool for months.
Speaking to the podcast Koori Curriculum on 9 March, Cath said functioning preschools also gave families a chance to go and hose down their houses and do other tasks, knowing their children were in safe hands.
After a few days in the scout hall, Evans Head Preschool is operating out of the local public school, but some preschools remain homeless.
“It’s like a war zone, the trauma is very raw and heartbreaking,” Cath said.
Many homes and businesses that have been destroyed are uninsured, as the cost of flood insurance has become astronomical in the wake of previous flood disasters.
The IEU is offering union fee relief for members who are financially impacted by the floods. See www.ieu.asn.au/news-publications/news/2022/03/ieu-support-fee-relief-members-impacted-flood
IEU Organiser Tina Smith said members should not neglect their own mental health while they try to recover from the flooding, and should remember that their workplace entitlements still apply, even during thisdifficult time.
Contact your union for advice about emergency disaster leave, personal leave entitlements or other matters.
To support the Northern Rivers Preschool Alliance appeal, see: www.gofundme.com/f/support-community-preschools-after-the-floods