Finch Hatton property loss

This case study on a Mackay resident highlights the interplay between the different functional areas of recovery and how external influencing factors can create cascading recovery challenges for individuals.

A man at Finch Hatton lost his home, sheds, farm equipment and sugar cane crop.

While he has strong family support and his insurance company will cover costs to rebuild the home, there are issues hampering his recovery that are indicative of the challenges particular to rural people and individuals dealing with large, centralised institutions and a global economy.

He has been told it will cost him $40,000 to restore power to the property, but he is having difficulty finding people in Ergon who can answer his questions or negotiate the work. The energy supplier previously had a small office only a short drive from his home but now he must contact a call centre in Brisbane where his call is bounced between departments.

Mackay Sugar determines how much sugar cane he must produce each year, but this year he cannot meet the required yields and may not be able to sell even the little cane that has regrown (the company will usually not take anything short of the required yields). In addition, there is great uncertainty for local canegrowers due to the imminent takeover of the company. It means he is unsure if he should attempt to recover the farm, as he does not know what conditions he would be operating under in the future.

As an older man descended from several generations of cane growing, it is all he has ever known. As a bachelor who is now living away from his community, his social isolation has grown. The man is being supported by Mackay Regional Council and DCDSS.