06 April, 2020

Re-connecting and Preparing the family

Gather round me hearties!
In challenging times it is important that everyone in the family is prepared as best they can be.
In December, as the fires approached and posed a definite threat to our village, we used the time after dinner to have a number of family meetings. We normally use this dinner and after dinner time for often wide-ranging discussions of everything from what we did that day to favourite movies or foods or anything.
In our crisis family meeting we have a more serious topic to discuss. In the case of the imminent fires we went through what was happening, what the threats were, our plans for defending the home and shop, what we would do if things didn't go according to plan and so on. As all the family was involved and they all were able to add in their comments and questions we were able to develop a good plan with multiple contingencies. As events turned out that worked very well, as we went from Plan A to Plan B and Plan C and evacuation very quickly. There was no confusion as we had already mapped out what we would do and followed the plan as we reacted to the changing conditions.
We are doing the same with the Corona Virus and economic restrictions that are designed to reduce the spread of infection.
In this case we had to cover quite a wide range of information, firstly about what the virus is and how it spreads and then the economic impact.

Corona Virus (COVID-19, also know as the 'Rona)

This is like the flu and spreads in a similar manner but has potentially deadly results, especially for people with pre-existing conditions. The sanitation and social distancing rules will help with any flu and should help to reduce transmission. One of the biggest problems that is being observed overseas is that up to half of those with the virus show no symptoms (asymptomatic) and we are only testing those that show symptoms. It is early days yet and no-one knows the full extent of infection, illness, death and recovery rates or anything as all the numbers are incomplete or polluted or made up (in some countries). All we know is that this can be deadly, especially for older people and those with other conditions, and is virulent. So we do our bit to keep everything and everyone as clean as possible and reduce places and means of transmission.

Economic and family impact from the Restrictions

The more immediate impact for us is the change in the economy. A great number of people are now unemployed. Most businesses are at risk of closing and many will never return after the end of the restrictions. My consulting business income is down 75% and the store is down 20% so far. As a family this means changes and we have discussed the impact. Our expenses are also down and our home running costs are very reasonable.
There are no more family outings which makes the loss of the family van less of an impact.
Luckily we are in Wingello, which makes staying at home much less of a drama than it is in places with a higher density of people. We can go for walks, do gardening and have space to do so much more. The store is a safe place to visit with our various measures in place and with delivery no-one here needs to be isolated.

Re-connect your family

In past times (i.e. 3 weeks ago) life was much busier and everyone in the household was going here and there and doing this and that. If you added up the actual time the whole family was in the house at the same time and not forced to do something else like homework or other work, it wasn't a lot of contact time. Now is the time to re-connect and get to know each other better. We are finding dinner time discussions - whether on more serious topics or just the normal wide ranging discussions - are an excellent way for the whole family to connect. The younger children listen in and often pop in a question or comment which adds to the conversation. Sometimes the comment is silly, but still funny and adds to the enjoyment of family time.

So, don't waste this time. If we are forced to slow down, take advantage of the opportunity and do what you have always been meaning to do.

03 April, 2020

Wingello Village News - April 2020

The Wingello Village News is here for April 2020.
See this month's  Wingello Village News.
This is the 134th monthly newsletter.

What's happening this month:
  • Stay home - and home is Wingello.
  • School news
  • Fire Brigade weekly meetings cancelled, but they are still responding to the call.
We have also published lots of articles this month regarding Wingello's response to the virus:
How we are handling the restrictions at the store
2020 - Together we will win


30 March, 2020

How we are handling the Coronvirus Restriction - 30 March 2020

We can do this!
The latest restrictions to restrain the spread of Corona Virus (COVID-19) - also know as "The 'Rona" have been announced by the Prime Minister yesterday evening. We have also been paying attention to our customers and the Health Department to make sure we employ the best practices to continue to provide the best service we can to our village.

We are an Essential Service

Firstly, we will continue operating for the duration of these challenging times. The Wingello Village Store is an essential service in six different ways:

  • Post Office
  • Banking
  • Fuel (Unleaded 91)
  • Newspapers
  • Groceries
  • Food (Take Away only now)

Corona Virus Safety Measures

All of us are very conscious and practice the proper food and work safety, with all managers qualified as Food Safety Supervisors. Added to this are a number of new health based procedures as recommended by the Australian and NSW Health Departments.
Hop this way and go out that way.

  1. Social Distancing. We have lovely stickers placed on the floor at 1.5m (5 ft) intervals. You can come in one way along the main benches and exit around the central bench area past the groceries to exit. We have plenty of space inside to accomodate customers using the 4m2 rule too.
  2. Cleaning - we regularly clean and wipe down all surfaces, door handles and other areas commonly touched by customers.
  3. Cash - we still accept cash. But to reduce risk, we have a dedicated person handling cash and post who does not handle coffee or food. All cash is placed in a small container between the customer and the cashier to reduce risk of inadvertent contact.
  4. All staff are now from our household. The reduction in business and general safety has meant we have had to lay off Becky for the duration. The only exposure we have to non locals is the once a week magical mystery shopping trip by us as we go to multiple supermarkets in Mittagong, Bowral and Moss Vale doing our Noah's Ark shopping (2 of this, 2 of that and so on) until we can meet our requirements.
  5. Closed front door - We cannot have the front door open as there is too much wind and dust from the train line which will affect our food safety and quality. The door pushes in, so feel free to back in or use your shoulder. On the way out use your hand or roll down your sleeve. We do wipe down the door handles very often.
  6. If you have any flu-like symptoms - Don't come in! Stay home and we can come to you.

Trading Hours

We have changed our trading hours. We will now be operating from 8am to 3pm every day. The hours after 3pm on weekdays have not been generating sufficient income to justify the wages. Much of our business is derived from Truckies, Tourists and Tradies. All three groups are now greatly reduced as most people move into isolation and are no longer travelling. We will continue to offer services so long as our patronage continues. This will be reviewed in the coming weeks.


So called "Single Use" bags are fashionable again
We can do deliveries. If within bike riding distance Martin, Rose or Clare will deliver by bicycle, or if further we will use the car.
The best way is to open an account with us and make a deposit. Then when you require anything we can put it against this account and bring out your order.
We will use new so called "Single Use" plastic bags for your orders. These bags can then be used as rubbish bags like we all used to do.
The order will be placed just outside your door, then we'll knock or use the bell to let you know we're there.
We cannot deliver just your mail as we are not allowed as part of our Australia Post agreement. However, if you buy something else (milk, eggs, bread, newspapers, lollies food, etc) we will bring along the mail with us.
On your bike, Martin!
The important thing is that even though you are isolated - either by choice or direction - you do not have to be trapped. We can provide you with necessities and if there is something you need, we can do our best to pick it up when we go shopping.
Contact us by Email, Telephone or Messenger.

So there you go.
That's our current plan - until things change again!
Remember - you're not alone in Wingello.

28 March, 2020

2020 - Together we will win

2020 is the year we get to face more than one existential crisis.
(Existential Crisis means threat to our existence or basis for our way of life)
We faced the fires together

We Survived the Fires

In December we had the looming threat of fire hanging over our heads. We had seen it ravage many other places throughout New South Wales and other States and as the month progressed, the fires were approaching from North East and South West. Then on New Year's Eve we had the preview and warning where thick smoke and some ash blanketed our village. (Here is an overview of what we faced then.)
Then on 4 January the fire leapt across the Shoalhaven Gorge and slammed behind our village with full force and it was on for young and old. Through incredible bravery and fortitude our village fought and defended Wingello, losing some houses and many fences, sheds and yards, but no loss of life or injuries. (Our share of this fight is here)
Then to continue the Miracle of Wingello our little village came together strong and worked to rebuild and support each other wherever we could.
January was then a period of rebuilding amidst the constant threat of more fire attacks. The following Saturday 11 January was another close thing where the fire began advancing on four different fronts until the forecast heavy winds ended up being much gentler and stopped the fire fronts with a "Not today" breeze pushing the fire back on itself. The rest of the month was a series of ominous hot days, winds and controlled hazard reductions around Wingello and Penrose until finally we had the downpours of rain in February and the fire threat was lifted.

Armed against the Corona Virus

We will Survive the Virus

The current situation with the threat of an invisible enemy, Corona Virus or COVID-19, is similar. Once more we are threatened with an enemy which can change our existence. We are following the recommended defence guidelines (as we did with the RFS Fire guidelines) through:

  • Isolation
  • Social Distancing
  • Frequent hand washing
  • Cleaning of all shared surfaces regularly

Our normal way of life is changed and we chafe under the restrictions. We can't see friends, attend church, birthdays, funerals or weddings.
But we have already been through one crisis and can see that together we can get through this one. We now know our neighbours and have faced a common enemy, the fires. We have seen that despite some differences they are quite small compared to the more important fight we face.
Now that we know our neighbours and fellow villagers we are seeing so many acts of generosity and fellowship. Hearing someone is in need of that rare treasure, toilet paper, many of us are sharing. If our elderly neighbours are in self isolation, we are keeping contact.

Local Businesses Really Are Local

Suddenly the rest of the world is discovering the resilience of the smaller local businesses, those that have a stake in their location. They are the ones that provide sponsorship and support and attend local events. The big companies talk of doing the right thing even while they underpay their employees and suppliers, buy up all supplies so smaller competitors cannot get a look in, and then proudly proclaim their caring nature.
Keeping up our spirits
Small and medium businesses provide the bulk of employment in Australia - much more than the large corporations. Those large corporations which get so much support from the government have been shedding staff and reducing core services for quite some time. This government mandated short term cessation of the bulk of the economy affects all businesses and is throwing many many people out of work.
The NSW "support" package is ALL aimed at larger companies. Most small and medium businesses are not paying Payroll tax.
You can make a difference by supporting all the small businesses that are still operating. They are employing people and supporting their local communities too. The money they make goes right back to the locals and your neighbours.

Support Each Other

Most of us - just add Ariel and James
By supporting each other as individuals we can make a huge difference. We have seen so many individual acts of kindness and support following the fires that we know that same supportive nature in Australia will triumph during these challenging times.
Make sure your isolated neighbour is OK. Offer to get some groceries for them. You can still converse with each other from over 1.5m (5 feet) distance.
Together we will get through this challenge. Our great response to the Fires show us that.

25 March, 2020

How we are handling the Coronvirus Restriction - 24 March 2020

Cleaning, distance and safety
The Prime Minister announced a new round of restrictions we are to follow in an attempt to contain the spread of the Corona Virus (COVID-19).
Basically everywhere that groups gather has been cancelled. The key line is "Stay at home unless for Groceries, Exercise, Medical needs, Care/Support, Work that cannot be done from home."

At the Wingello Village Store we continue to supply essential services of:

  • Post Office
  • Banking
  • Groceries (Bread, Milk, basic supplies)
  • Newsagency
  • Take Away food

The latest directive by press release
To make sure everyone remains safe under the NSW Health recommend protocols we are:

  • Wiping down all surfaces on a regular basis
  • Dedicated person handling cash and mail.
  • Crosses on floor to mark 1.5m (5 feet) distance (Social Distancing)
  • Anyone with flu symptoms is not permitted in the store.

This means the outside dining areas are closed.
You can contact us by

  • Phone (02 4884 4340) or 
  • Email (wingello@gmail.com) or 
  • Messenger @TheWingelloVillageStore

If you have a Post Office Box here, you can sign up for Mail2Day which means you will get an email letting you know you have mail in your PO Box. It is a free service.
We still have a few small PO Boxes available. If you hand in the application form here, we can arrange a reduced fee rate of only $40 a year plus a $20 establishment fee. Don't apply online or you will be charged the full rate of $135 plus $20!

We have regular deliveries of bread, milk, meat, eggs and other supplies.
You can order from Marulan Meats and they deliver here on Wednesday and Friday.
If you want to ensure bread, let us know by 1pm on Sunday, Tuesday or Thursday as Bryants delivers to us on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

We can continue to support you so long as everyone supports us. That way everyone wins in these challenging times.

19 March, 2020

Rolled but not Defeated!

At rest after a flip and a half
On Tuesday 17 March, Lana was driving back from Albury with Sebastian and we were expecting their return around 6 or so. Then I received a phone call from Sebastian at 4pm telling me they had been in an accident and Lana was bleeding but there were emergency people in attendance.
I immediately left and met them at Wagga Wagga Base Hospital around 7pm.
What had happened was Lana had a micro sleep and started swerving. Overreacting when trying to correct the drift, the van lost control and spun around 180 degrees now facing South. However, the momentum of the van moving a 110kph (70 mph) meant the van went sliding sideways through the median strip until it came to the upwards slope on the inner side of the South bound lanes. The van then flipped in the air, slamming down on the drivers side. Lana hit her head against the collapsing driver door, smashing her glasses and getting an impact cut on her head. The van then flipped another 180 degrees to land on the passenger side and slid across the road to end up on the far side of the South bound road.
Once the van had stopped Lana was hanging in the air kept secure by her seatbelt. She looked down at Sebastian and saw blood was dripping on him from her head. She put a hand up to stop the bleeding but the blood didn't stop. Sebastian passed up some serviettes which didn't do much to stop the blood. Head wounds are notorious for profuse bleeding.
On the busy Hume Highway no other cars or trucks were involved.
My first view of Lana
However within moments a truck driver, nurse, doctor and fire brigade fellow who all happened to be passing by, stopped and gave assistance.
The truckie was first and helped pull out the smashed front windscreen, letting Sebastian escape.
Once he was out, Lana undid her seat belt and fell to the passenger seat and crawled out the broken front window.
By now the nurse was on hand and quickly lay Lana down and examined her. The nurse kept telling Lana not to go to sleep and asked her all the standard concussion questions. The doctor checked Lana's progress and the Truckie and Fire Brigade guy checked the car for any potential fire damage.
Police and Ambulance arrived shortly thereafter. Lana heard one of the Ambulance fellows comment hat Sebastian was really cool reporting what had happened on the phone to me. He did very well remaining calm in an emergency.
The paramedics offered for Sebastian to go in a separate ambulance, but he diplomatically requested to go in the same ambulance as Lana. Sebastian looked pretty horrid covered in blood that wasn't his. His main injury was a cut in his finger which ended up requiring 3 stitches and a number of minor bruises and cuts.
The van at the wreckers
I arrived at Wagga Wagga Base Hospital and tracked down Lana. My first view was seeing her lying on the emergency bed with head bandaged, blood everywhere and a neck brace that stopped her moving her head. But she smiled when she saw me which was a great sign.
After much poking and prodding and tests the doctors discovered no bones broken, no sprains or spinal injuries. She had a small cut near her eye and eye brow caused by her glasses disintegrating when the van smashed into the ground the first time.
The cut on her head was pretty ugly, but after a lot of cleaning away of dried blood and a good shower, they checked and there were no foreign bodies in the cut and were able to glue all the edges back together.
Crushed but still roughly in shape
Lana has lots of bruises and a sore head, but is otherwise OK.
So what have we learned?
The remains of Lana's glasses

  • When you feel tired, pull over!
  • Modern vehicles are really quite safe. Even though the Ford Transit Van is 13 years old, it was still designed well enough to retain basic body shape despite a roll or two.
  • Seat Belts save lives!
  • The generosity of strangers is once again refreshing to see. All the immediate passers-by stopped and rendered assistance.
  • First responders are once again excellent. Ambulance and Police were on the scene very quickly.
  • Wagga Wagga Base Hospital is amazing. Everyone we dealt with was friendly and supportive. They let me wander from bed to bed as I first saw Lana and then went to make sure Sebastian was doing OK and then back again. Many times!
  • It is really good having supportive family. Once the "Go" button was pressed we all went into action. I drove down, Peter covered for me wth clients, the others moved around shifts and organised dinner and all the normal things Lana or I would have done. Then when James had to come down the second day to help collect all the stuff that was in the van, we moved all the work shifts at the shop. 
So now, we have to plan for a new family van with 12 seats in a few months or so once the insurance money comes in and we save the difference. All in all, a rather good ending to what could have been much much worse.
2020 - so far so good.

15 March, 2020

Wingello and the Coronavirus

We will clean everything!
The Coronavirus (officially called COVID-19) is increasing its spread through Sydney and other areas of Australia, with 134 confirmed cases in NSW alone. (Up 22 today - 15 March)
Australia has 249 cases and 3 deaths.

This is NOT just another flu. It is spreading fast and based on the experience in other countries can have serious repercussions for up to 20% of those getting infected, including death (1% to 4%) and permanent loss of lung capacity. Australia has excellent medical facilities but we want to ensure we do not overload them. To do that we need to limit the infection rate and spread of the virus.
That is why we are getting increasing levels of containment and mitigation attempts. No static events for 500+ people, self isolation of all people returning from overseas and more.

What are we doing in Wingello?

We want to make sure the people of Wingello are able to continue life and minimise the chances of getting the coronavirus.
The store is well designed with plenty of space and area in which to move. We are continuing the cleaning of all benches and handles and areas people would touch throughout the day.
If you are sick or in self isolation, stay home. Call us and we will deliver your mail and any supplies you may need.
As a full Post Office we have banking facilities for most banks - deposits, withdrawals and so on. No need to go to Moss Vale or Bowral.
If you need something and can't get out, let us know. We can add some things to our shopping list as we replenish each week. Woolworths Online delivers to Wingello too. (https://www.woolworths.com.au)
We are working with our local suppliers to ensure deliveries and supplies continue through whatever occurs. We have also minimised our contact with others - also known as Social Distancing - to minimise the chance of spreading the virus. No hand shaking. Just the classic Wingello Nod and "G'day".
Popping in to the shop for something to eat is also easy as we have lots of places all separated so you can maintain the recommended distance of 1 metre between groups. So this means Social Distancing does not mean isolation.
We have learned from the fires in January that Wingello has a great community and we can work together to get through anything. We are still rebuilding from the fires and being in self isolation does not mean staying indoors. Going for a walk in the lovely fresh Wingello air and working in the garden are both great ways to get the most out of this forced holiday.

Some important reading matter:
Australian Health
NSW Health
Coronavirus: Why you must act now

01 March, 2020

Wingello Village News - March 2020

The Wingello Village News is here for March 2020.
See this month's  Wingello Village News.
This is the 133rd monthly newsletter.

What's happening this month:
  • Lots of help, both financial and volunteers, for us to access
  • The fire brigade is getting lots of new members. Come on down.
We have also published lots of articles this month regarding the fires:
Councils encourages Fiery fingers of death through the village
Wingello Fire 4 Weeks on (with high altitude drone footage of the village)
In case of fire - put your gear in a good place


16 February, 2020

In Case of Fire

Not to be put too far away in the Bushfire Season
Now that we have had such lovely rain and all the fires near us are out, it is timely to remember we are still in the Bushfire Season until end of March. So with all the practical experience we have had this year, we have created our special "In Case Of Fire" box which we will put somewhere safe in case of need.
We have learned that these items are very important if we intend to stay and defend, but also the fire may come without much warning.
In addition to this box we will also need:

  • a non flammable hat or helmet
  • Woollen or Cotton clothing covering all areas of skin
  • Good non-flammable/non-melting closed shoes or boots
  • Batteries for torches and lights
  • First Aid kit that is appropriately stocked

What's in the box?

  • Smoke Masks - P2 rated or higher. These are disposable and you should have more than one per person. Enclose them in a plastic bag to make sure they remain fresh and ready for use.
  • Safety Goggles - enclosed so that smoke won't get in your eyes. When the fires are nearby, the smoke is very thick and your eyes are instantly irritated. Keep some eye drops in your medical/first aid cabinet.
  • High Visibility Vests - these are important so others can see you better. This is because you should not fight fires alone!
  • Gloves - leather or otherwise flame proof. Embers and branches will be hot and you want to protect yourself.
  • Glow Sticks - We used these to place around the ends of hoses and other important fire fighting gear. When the flames are close and embers are thick it is almost like daylight at times, but when it is dark and you need to find the hose or bucket, glow sticks work well. Don't use red or orange as these are confusing!
  • Lights - Headlights were very useful so wherever you looked you had better light. A good torch also helped for longer ranges.

Bushfire Survival Plan

The other really important thing to have is a Fire Plan. Discuss your plan with the whole household and review it together. We did this a number of times before the fire and it meant when the call was made to retreat, we all knew where to go and what to do. In times of danger and uncertainty, a well understood plan can make all the difference between safety and tragedy.

11 February, 2020

Council Encourages Fiery Fingers of Death

As we review the damage caused by the fires that swept into Wingello on Saturday 4th January, we can see the impact of decisions taken over the preceding years.
The fiery fingers of death raged along the
Council's unmaintained roadsides

The RFS Information Is Excellent

The Rural Fire Service has provided a wealth of information to the community including:

  • Annual Open Days - everyone is encouraged to pop into the fire shed for a free BBQ, jumping castle for the children and plenty of information about how fire can affect the village. Our local Firies are on hand to provide any assistance and information.
  • Annual Information Day in the Wingello Village Hall. There is a presentation showing the history of fires and the specific impact fire has had on the village, especially the 1965 and 1998 fires. There are plenty of maps and photos letting everyone know how fire has hit Wingello hard in the past.
  • Fire Plan kits - these are available from the fire station and at the Wingello Village Store. It contains lots of essential information about preparing your home and property, appropriate protective gear and equipment and plenty of information so everyone in Wingello can make an informed plan about how they will act when a fire approaches and hits.

This has been of immense help and the availability of the Wingello Rural Fire Brigade when anyone had a question has been superb. There is really no excuse for a Wingello resident to not know what to do in case of fire.
This was a prelude on New Year's Eve

Local Preparedness was OK

You can see the effectiveness by the number of houses that were prepared in accordance with the RFS information bulletins. This ramped up after the preview we had on New Year's eve when the town filled with heavy smoke and the threat of fire was just on the other side of the Shoalhaven Gorge.
When the threat warning for the 4th January arrived, a much greater proportion of the village activated their fire plan and relocated for the night. Those left were better prepared to face the expected ember attack with appropriate masks, goggles and protective gear.
We did not know that the fire had a new attack plan.
These posts describe some glimpses of the defence of Wingello that night:
Our Slice of the Fight for Wingello
Not on my Watch!
Dogged Defence
The village's defences could have been better in a number of instances, but for all we could do we had one limiting factor.

Wingecarribee Shire Council is Culpably Negligent

At this point we can see what we as a village did on the night and beforehand.
However, as we look at the drone footage and get a better look at what the fire actually did on the night, we can see the impact of many decisions that were out of our control.
The Wingecarribee Shire Council knows we are in a high fire risk Shire. We know because they put lots of conditions and charges on anyone building here.
Do you have a plan?
Yet, while they are very quick to put restrictions and conditions on residents, they have done very little on their side to prepare. When the fires struck, they had NO plan as to what they should do once fires struck. The Shire has had fires many times over the years and we are firmly encouraged to have a fire plan, yet the council had NONE.
To use an analogy, consider what a responsible person does that needs a car for work. You ensure that you maintain the car, you put aside an emergency fund in case something serious happens to the car and you have a plan in case the car breaks down. That is what a responsible person does.
Yet, our council, whilst knowing we are in a high fire risk area and we have had bushfires hit in the past had NO plan, NO reserves and NO idea what to do.
Our first exposure to the Council's poor response was when we started receiving lots of donations of food and clothing for those in the village that had lost so much. The Council made us fight to be able to use the hall. Once we gained access to the hall, we were able to distribute the donations - and even more importantly - use the opportunity to connect with fellow villagers and discuss each other's experiences on the night and subsequent days. The added stress of fighting for access did not help.
Then as we looked at the drone footage of the village taken four weeks after the fire (Wingello Fire - 4 Weeks On) we realised the second part of the problem.
The Council's policies had made the village extremely vulnerable to fire, despite our best efforts at preparation. When you look at the overhead footage, you can see the fire rushing into the village like fingers of fiery death straight into the heart of the village. The fire embraced the unmaintained roadside verge greedily spreading the fire onwards and then attacked the neighbouring homes.
In the last few years the council has put in specific policies that contribute to their culpable negligence and effectively attempted to make Wingello a fiery death trap.
Is this really an accidental policy decision?

  1. In the past, Wingello residents cleaned up the roadside verges, using the continual dropped branches and so on for firewood for our wood heaters. This is now forbidden unless a permit is given. Yet the Council will not do the required maintenance themselves. The amount of fuel that is in front of each resident's home is fearful.
  2. Back yard burning of excess plant matter has been a traditional method of keeping our properties clean. This was banned unless the property was over 1 acre, which meant the majority of the village was not allowed to do back yard burns. The fortnightly green bins are insufficient for the plant matter that is generated by the amount of trees in the village. Otherwise we are recommended to take the waste to the recycling centre - for a fee - 50 km away.
  3. Fighting to clear away trees on our property is expensive. $100 for the first tree and $50 for each additional tree just for the application. Then the council arborist visits and while taking no personal or corporate responsibility for the impact if a tree falls or causes damage, dictates whether the tree can be removed, or trimmed or must stay. If you wish to complain, land owners must take the council to court. Although this council always complains about lack of money, there always seems to be enough money for legal actions.

This is our exit route.
We are extremely fortunate to have such effective local Rural Fire Brigades in Wingello and Penrose. When trees fall, the brigades are very quick to clean up the trees so access can be maintained. Unfortunately, the council insists fallen branches be placed in a fuel pile next to the road. They have banned us from using the downed trees and branches yet will not step in and do the necessary maintenance themselves.
All this information has been provided to the Wingecarribee Shire Council councillors and General Manager weeks ago. Other than talk, we are still in the same situation, but with the added burden of over 250 trees that are fire damaged inside the village.
But, they tell us, It's OK. The Council is on it.