Friday, July 8, 2022

Mayor says Hillcrest victims’ financial support is “not negotiable”

Devonport Mayor, Annette Rockliff has spoken publicly, confirming that the nine families affected by last month’s jumping castle tragedy will receive the $1.42 million initially raised through a GoFundMe page set up to support victims’ families.

The Mayor said Devonport City Council understood the community concerns around the Hillcrest Community Public Funds but reiterated that the financial support would be forthcoming.

Her statement followed recent news reports that the money raised had been caught up in “complex legal issues”.

State Recovery Adviser, Craig Limkin said some outstanding issues needed to be resolved in regards to the original amount raised on the GoFundMe platform.

“This process is legally complex and not straight forward,” he said.

“We have seen recently in other states how difficult it can be for public donations to reach the people they were raised for.

“It is for this reason that the government has stepped in to support the distribution of the donations.”

Mayor Rockliff says the money would go to the families affected by the tragedy and that the distribution of funds was “not negotiable”.

“The money was always intended for those families and that’s exactly where it will go,” she said.

“Council will continue to take direction from the State Government once those funds are rolled over. The fund’s Distribution Committee, which I am a member of, will meet and make sure those families receive their share of the initial donations received.”

She confirmed the Hillcrest Community Public Fund currently stands at $1.96 million, which includes the $1.42 million from the GoFundMe donations.

“This means that $459,580 has been raised with donations continuing to flow in steadily from many organisations and business that want to help in some way,” the Mayor said.

She said the Hillcrest Community Public Fund, a joint initiative with the State Government, MyState and Council, was about being able to support the Hillcrest families and school community for the long term through a secure approach.

“For many of us, the tragic events of 16th December are still firmly etched in our minds. I have people telling me now that they are still just devastated. We all will be for some time.”

“I am saddened to see such outrage on social media which is often sparked by misinformation.

“I’m hopeful that as the public funds start to be distributed to the families and those affected, that there will be less anger around a process that does take time but is solely about helping those who have gone through something just so unimaginable.”

A Tasmanian Government spokesperson said the government was working to resolve the outstanding issues to enable the funds to be distributed. This process is legally complex and not straight forward.

“We have seen recently in other States, how difficult it can be for public donations to reach the people they were raised for. It is for this reason that the Government has stepped in to support the distribution of the donations,” the spokesperson said.

“Families do not need to wait for these donations to come through to support them with their financial needs. The Tasmanian Government has been and will continue to support families to ensure they have everything they need.

“We want to re-assure the community that the Government and Council are doing everything they can to support Hillcrest Primary School families and the local community during this very difficult time.”

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