LATEST BOOST FOR BUSHFIRE RECOVERY

Local economic recovery plans will help towns and regions hit by bushfires get back on their feet as part of a new $650 million package of support from the Federal Government.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said that the National Bushfire Recovery Agency (NBRA) will lead work to drive a strong economic recovery so the more than 18,600 families and businesses in bushfire-affected areas can get back on their feet.

“The same communities that were hurting most from the bushfires are hurting from the impacts of COVID-19. The impacts have been devastating,” the Prime Minister said.

“Every community is different and every community is at a different point in their recovery. That’s why the projects that these funds will support are not one-size-fits-all – they will reflect community needs.”

“This is about locals leading the recovery with the NBRA and our state and local partners ensuring our support gets to where it’s needed most.”

Prime Minister Morrison urged local communities to work with their state governments and to provide the NBRA with their priority projects as soon as possible.

The projects could include those that build community capability and wellbeing, including through workshops and events, projects that focus on the landscape and water, replacing produce and stock, supporting local jobs and building future resilience.

Minister for Emergency Management David Littleproud said, “I’ve always wanted a locally led recovery not a Canberra led recovery. This is the mechanism to deliver that and to build it back better.”

“To date, the efforts of every level of government have been focused on emergency relief, the restoration of basic services, clean-up operations and the immediate wellbeing needs of people in the most severely impacted communities.”

“While we recognise not all communities are at the same point of recovery, some communities are starting to consider longer-term planning. We’re here to support them with opportunities to rebuild.”

The new support also includes:
• Forestry Transport Assistance ($15 million): To assist the forestry industry with the increased costs of transporting burned salvaged logs over longer distances to surviving timber mills or storage sites in bushfire affected areas in Victoria and New South Wales.
• Community Wellbeing and Participation ($13.5 million) – backing Primary Health Networks with additional funding to provide critical, localised emotional and mental health support for bushfire affected individuals.
• Bushfire Recovery for Species and Landscapes ($149.7 million) – supporting efforts that go beyond the immediate devastation on species and natural assets through habitat regeneration, waterway and catchment restoration including erosion control, weed and pest management.
• Telecommunications Emergency Resilience ($27.1 million as well as $10 million from the mobile blackspots program) – strengthening telecommunications capabilities prior to future natural disasters, including the deployment of approximately 2000 satellite dishes to provide a link if other connections are damaged, plus batteries and solar panels, to rural fire depots and evacuation centres.
The $2 billion Bushfire Recovery Fund has been committed to programs and initiatives to support bushfire recovery in affected communities. This is in addition to those funds already available through existing disaster recovery measures.
• Over 16,700 applications for the $10,000 small business support grant have been approved – worth $167 million.
• More than 1300 applications for the $50,000 small business grant have been approved – worth $37 million.
• 1700 applications for the Primary Producer Grant have been approved to date, with a total of $106 million provided to primary producers to date.

You can access support and find further details, on the National Bushfire Recovery Agency website.