A series of fires in the NSW Mid-Coast and Northern Rivers and parts of QLD has impacted over 285 homes from 8th November. A catastrophe was declared by the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) on Nov 9 for NSW which was extended to parts of QLD on Nov 13.
The ICA estimates that approximately 1,000 claims have been received across the industry with a total insured loss of approximately $110 million. These figures are anticipated to rise in coming days as evacuated homeowners return to their properties.
The NSW Government has pledged an additional $220,000 to BlazeAid and local government partners to enhance support for bushfire affected communities in northern NSW. Treasurer Dominic Perrottet and Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott visited bushfire impacted areas around Kempsey and Port Macquarie to speak with locals and thank firefighters for their continued efforts battling the blazes.
Perrottet said this much needed funding would help hundreds of volunteers on the ground supporting more than 200 landholders to clean-up and remove destroyed fences so they could start repairing or replacing fences as quickly as possible.
“While our combat agencies continue to work tirelessly to contain these fires, we know that many kilometres of fencing has been destroyed and there is a large amount of debris to be cleared. This extra funding will assist communities devastated by bushfires here in northern NSW begin the recovery process,” he said.
Elliott said there are many impacted communities across NSW in various phases of response and recovery and it was vital to support organisations who help local communities get back on their feet faster.
“As our firefighters are on the frontline fighting the blazes, we as a Government are acutely aware that there are many residents who have been displaced because of the bushfires and who need immediate financial and practical support,” he said.
Immediate financial assistance has been made available to those worst-hit by the QLD bushfires in targeted areas of the Scenic Rim council area and farmers in targeted areas of Livingstone Shire.
QLD Minister for Natural Disaster and Emergency Management David Littleproud said the payments were available on top of DRFA assistance, which had already been made available, “Further assistance will be made available when we get a better idea of the fire damage.”
Queensland Minister for Fire and Emergency Services Craig Crawford said concessional loans would provide long-term assistance to primary producers in Central Queensland that have been directly impacted by the fires.
He said, “These farmers were already facing a long dry summer, and the activation of the DRFA will ensure fire-impacted primary producers have the support they need to rebuild and restock when they are ready.”
As at 10pm Nov 17, the RFS building impact assessments (BIAs) were approximately 80 per cent completed. RFS has indicated that more losses are expected as BIAs continue. The RFS remains very much in the response phase and its own crews are having difficulty accessing some areas. Given the size of this event, the ICA is unable to provide regular updates on road access to impacted regions. Some impacted areas are publicly accessible while others remain closed or accessible only under escort and at the discretion of the Local Incident Commander. Insurers have also been advised to exercise their discretion in accessing impacted properties.
Our previous posts covering the fires can be accessed here and here. In NSW, Disaster Assistance Points have now opened in Taree, Kempsey, Glen Innes and Grafton; each operating from 9am-5pm.