Pulling together

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  • Earthmovers & Exacavators

Sunshine coast Caterpillar dozer and attachment supplier Makin Traks has dispatched the majority of its fleet to assist in bushfire zones

Makin-Tracks
Makin Traks owner Daz Scale offered his fleet of Cat D3-D5 bulldozers to anyone in need in bushfire zones. These machines will be used to clean up areas in and around the current fires and then for fire-mitigation

The unprecedented bushfires in New South Wales and Victoria have dominated the news headlines, devastated lives and livelihoods this summer.

Few are in as good a position to help in the restoration and future protection of these burnt out areas as are Australia’s earthmoving fleet owners and suppliers; as dozers and excavators are in high demand right along the east coast south of Sydney.

Makin Traksowner Daz Scales explains that he offered his fleet of Cat D3-D8 bulldozers to anyone in need in bushfire zones for urgent repair and fire clean up and prevention work, both on an on-hire basis and as outright purchases.

"We’ve been supplying NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service with bulldozers and attachments for a long time now as a preferred supplier," Scales explains.

"We delivered a dozer down there to them late last year and I simply mentioned to them that I had a yard full of bulldozers and would be happy to help out in any way that I can."

National Parks and Wildlife manages more than 860 national parks and reserves – that is more than 7 million hectares – a sizeable portion of which has now been decimated.

"They passed that on – and we’ve previously sold a few machines into the Gippsland and Bairnsdale areas – and it just sort of snowballed from there really," Scales says.

"We’ve just been inundated. I’ve also been getting calls from customers of mine in the affected areas who have been contracted to assist in the clean-up and fire prevention efforts and sent dozers directly down to them – to create fire-breaks to prevent the spread of current and future fires."

The ironic part of this story it that the very first Cat D3K dozer that Scales sold way back in 2010 is being traded in for a new D6K by a customer [contractors in the Bega area of New South Wales] who has now been contracted to assist in the reinvigorated fire prevention effort.

"We’ve sold 800 machines in that time and they are a lovely couple who were our very first customers nine years ago," Scales reveals.

These machines will be used to clean up areas in and around the current fires and then for fire-mitigation, as the old D3K is just a bit too small for the important work they now need to do to protect their community. Scales has even thrown in a complimentary $6,000 tree spear to assist. 

"I just feel for the people down there. I’m just sending a machine down to people who have lost their shed and half their house today… it’s devastation down there… it’s terrible," Scales explains.

"It’s not just machines; we’ve also had huge demand for dozer attachments like multi-shank rippers, tree-spears, switch and screens, stick rakes, tree pushers and the typical guard bars over the top of the dozer [the sweeps].

"Luckily we did have a lot of these attachments in stock, but we’ve got a whole lot more on order and coming in now and we haven’t had any kind of supply issues with them.

"I’ve got to thank the truckies in my area too in the Sunshine Coast who have helped me get all these dozers and attachments down to where they need to be at such short notice; it’s been a phenomenal effort from everyone really and we all really want to help these people on the frontline in every way we can."

Scales has now sent out almost 20 low-hour Cat bulldozers to customers in bushfire-affected areas from just south of Sydney all the way down to Gippsland in Victoria.

Job one for dozer operators in these areas will be combating the fires that are currently burning; taking care of the damage and devastation that’s taken place; and to be proactive by creating fire breaks and allowing access and cleaning up roads. Most important though is making sure this doesn’t happen again.

"I think the [Federal] government will become more proactive [in terms of increasing funding for pro-active fire prevention measures] as a result of this," Scales says.

 

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