Bushfire Recovery and Drought assistance

1. Overview

Bushfire Recovery and Assistance

We have established a bushfire recovery assistance point in Braidwood to assist residents of Queanbeyan-Palerang navigate their way through the various bushfire support measures that are in place. We are operating out of the Old Braidwood Library (Park Lane). The recovery assistance point is open Monday to Friday 9am - 3pm.

We also supplement these office hours with visits to affected communities. 

Please contact us to let us know what sort of support you need most, particularly if it's not already in place.

You can:

  • Call us on 6285 6789
  • Email us at recovery@qprc.nsw.gov.au
  • drop in to see us at the Old Braidwood Library during opening hours.  

Bushfire Customer Care Service 

For people impacted by bushfire, the NSW Bushfire Customer Care Service will help you navigate the support and financial assistance that's available from the NSW State Government and Federal Government.

Types of assistance available includes:

  • Accommodation advice
  • Relevant charitable services
  • Mental health and wellbeing services
  • Support for businesses
  • Clean-up services
  • Financial assistance
  • Grants and rebates
  • Insurance and legal support
  • Replacing lost ID
  • Volunteer RFS and SES payments.

 You can register by:

2. Recovery Committees and Groups

Queanbeyan-Palerang Bushfire Recovery Committee:

Works to coordinate a cross-section of agencies operating in the local Government area to facilitate an effective recovery process for impacted communities. This committee works towards achieving the Recovery Action Plan. This plan has been developed based on identified local needs and priorities. 

Meeting Monthly 

Local Health and Wellbeing Working Group

This group will support coordination of the health and wellbeing agencies and initiatives in the recovery process. It will assist local and regional recovery efforts for impacted communities.

Local Economic Recovery Advisory Group

LERAG assists local communities regain an acceptable level of economic and business functionality following the fires. They will assist with planning, implementing and monitoring activities for economic recovery.

Bushfire Renewal Reference Group

This group provides a forum where individuals, community groups, non-government organisations and government agencies can work together to provide information and advice to the Regional Recovery Committee and the Health and Wellbeing Committee specific to bushfire recovery.

The reference group will work to the following guidelines

  • Identifying local strengths and assets to promote community empowerment
  • Collective action, collaborative projects, lobbying and advocacy
  • Sharing of information, ideas and experience
  • Network building, strengthening community partnerships and cultural awareness.

Outreach event

9 August 2020 at Mongarlow RFS Shed at 10am.

3. Recovery Resources

Support for recovery staff

  • Supporting the Supporters in disaster recovery https://supportingthesupporters.org/ - A practical guide for who have a role supporting the long term post - disaster recovery in communities.
  • The Recovery Wellbeing Hub is a resource developed by the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and planning. The Hub pulls together various tools with a focus on protecting the mental health and wellbeing of those involved in emergency recovery. There are also some relevant short videos for employers and employees about how to support people working in recovery, looking after yourself, and managing living and working in a disaster impacted community.
  • Beyond Bushfires – 10 year study following 2009 Victorian Bushfires
  • Australian Institute for Disaster Resilience - Disaster recovery is a dynamic field – knowledge on effective recovery has changed significantly in the past two decades, and continues to develop through research and practice. This collection brings together resources, information and publications focused on recovery in Australia and internationally. AIDR Recovery Collection 
  • Recovery Matters Webinar Series - The Recovery Matters webinars get to the heart of key issues in disaster recovery. How do you go about supporting communities in recovery? What can you expect on the journey ahead? What about the support needs of particular groups? Through a series of informative webinars, the Australian Institute for Disaster Resilience invites expert speakers to share what they know and help us move forward with disaster recovery. View all webinars on the  Recovery Matters webinars YouTube playlist.
  • Red Cross is currently managing a bushfire recovery program in areas affected by the 2019-20 black summer fires. Register or watch sessions with experts, and connect with our team. Red Cross Bushfire recovery events and webinars.
  • Community Disaster Preparedness and Resilience – We all want our communities to be safer and more resilient to future disasters? This Resilience NSW webinar, hosted live on Tuesday, June 16, 2020, celebrated NSW Get Ready Community Award initiatives that help us better prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters. Anne Crestani, of Gateway Family Services, spoke on developing a free disaster recovery planning tool for community organisations, while Peter Randall, spoke on leading Warimoo Public School and students in its bushfire preparedness program. Watch this recorded webinar now on:  https://youtu.be/RJvvENOvvVw
  • Community Trauma Toolkit - This toolkit contains resources to help and support adults and children before, during, and after a disaster or traumatic event. It will help you understand some of the impacts of disaster and how you can help lessen these impacts.
    Emergencies and disasters are extremely stressful and it is normal to feel overwhelmed. Children, even infants, can also be affected. They depend on the adults around them for safety and security, and will need reassurance, care, and opportunities to share their feelings. These resources provide a starting point for you to help children navigate the different stages of a disaster https://emergingminds.com.au/resources/toolkits/community-trauma-toolkit/
  • State Toolkits

Short-courses

Future Learn 3-Week Course - this course is significant for individuals and the public interested in gaining knowledge about reducing their vulnerability to bushfires, effective coping strategies in the aftermath of a bushfire event and building resilience in the face of future disasters.

Bushfires: Response, Relief and Resilience - https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/bushfires 

Resilience of Local Governments - a multi-sectoral approach to integrate public health and disaster risk management - This course will provide an understanding of a multi-sectoral approach to integrate public health and disaster risk management. In view of public health risks which are emerging and complex as well as the need for more effective coordination and management of resources, this short course presents frameworks that provide guidance on how to integrate public health systems and disaster risk management for resilience. 

https://cifal.newcastle.edu.au/courses/resilience-of-local-governments-a-multi-sectoral-approach-to-integrate-public-health-and-disaster-risk-management/

Bushfire Safety, Risk Reduction & Resilience - this course will provide you with valuable knowledge significant for understanding bushfire risks, reducing vulnerability to bushfires, effective coping strategies in the aftermath of a bushfire event and building resilience for future bushfire hazard occurrences.

4. Register for Rates Relief

If you are unable to get to a Service NSW office you can complete the form below to register for rates relief.  

Rates relief is available for properties where the primary residence (or business) has been destroyed. The NSW Government will pay for two instalments /sixmonths of general rates, and the Council will pay up to $470 for two months of waste management charges. 

Where property has been affected by bushfire, Council will waive interest on payment arrangements to defer rates over a period of up to two years.

Click here to view form.

5. Bushfire Recovery Clean-up

The NSW Government and the Commonwealth are jointly covering the clean-up costs of residential and eligible commercial properties destroyed in the NSW bushfires since 1 July 2019.

 

Laing O’Rourke Australia has been appointed as the managing contractor, responsible for managing the clean-up of properties across NSW, working with Public Works Advisory (PWA).

Impacted property owners who would like their property cleared need to register at Service NSW or call 13 77 88.

Click here to view form.

6. Free Legal Service

Legal Aid NSW is operating a Disaster Response Legal Service which provides legal help to people in NSW affected by the bushfires.
Help is available for:

- Insurance
- Credit hardship
- Housing
- Employment
- Replacement of documents (e.g. Certificate of Title)

The Disaster Response Legal Service attends all Disaster Recovery Centres. People can also access the service by calling the Disaster Response HelpLine on 1800 801 529.

7. Recovering from a Bushfire Disaster

Anne Leadbeater is a resident of Kinglake Victoria and a survivor of the 2009 Black Saturday Bushfires.

Anne works with communities from across Australia and the world helping them recover from natural disasters. Anne recently sat down with Ian Campbell from Bega Valley and shared her thoughts on recovering from a natural disaster.

You can watch the full video below at the bottom of this page or individual parts that you think may help you.

Part 1 - Impressions with Anne Leadbeater.

Part 2 - Talking on loss with Anne Leadbeater.

Part 3 - Talking to each other with Anne Leadbeater.

Part 4 - Learning and self care with Anne Leadbeater

Part 5 - The nature of recovery with Anne Leadbeater

Part 6 - Talking on bush fire brain with Anne Leadbeater

Part 7 - Phases of Recovery with Anne Leadbeate

Part 8 - Generosity with Anne Leadbeater

Part 9 - Getting through this with Anne Leadbeater

Full interview Ian Campbell and Anne Leadbeater's Impressions

8. Mental Health Support

Major events, such as bush fires, cause widespread loss and distress and impact the whole community.

If you have been impacted by the recent fires, you might feel things like frustration, sadness and anxiety, or have trouble sleeping or remembering things.

This is a normal reaction to an abnormal event. Having someone to listen and support you at times like this is important.

Sometimes it’s difficult to talk about what’s going on but it’s important to reach out if you need help.

The following are free services available 24 hours a day, seven days a week:

  • NSW Mental Health Line: 1800 011 511
  • Beyondblue: 1300 22 4636
  • Lifeline bushfire response line: 13 HELP - 13 43 57
  • Lifeline: 13 11 14
  • Mensline: 1300 789 978
  • Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger call 000. 

9. Drought Assistance

We will be offering relief to farmers to have their rates deferred. To apply you will need to download and complete the Drought Relief Rate Hardship Form(PDF,23KB). This will be assessed and you will be notified in writing of the outcome.

Council will also provide assistance to farmers in the following ways:

  • Financial relief to eligible farmland property owners and occupiers where action is required regarding high priority weed infestations
  • Access to town water from the Bungendore, Captains Flat and Braidwood water supplies for eligible farmland properties, limited to 1000 litres per day. Water can be obtained from the following sites:
    • Braidwood - Bicentennial Park
    • Captains Flat - Wilkins Park
    • Bungendore - near Council depot in Ellendon St

Farmhub

The Farmhub website brings together a range of helpful services and support including NSW and Federal Government assistance that is available.

Visit https://farmhub.org.au

Federal Government Assistance

The Department of Agriculture has a range of programs available to assist - https://www.agriculture.gov.au/ag-farm-food

State Government Assistance 

The NSW Department of Primary Industry has set up Droughthub which provides information on services and support available during drought conditions - https://www.droughhub.nsw.gov.au 

The NSW Rural Assistance Authority (RAA) provides assistance through programs that encourage self-reliance and adaption to change - https://raa.nsw.gov.au or telephone 1800 678 593.

The NSW Rural Financial Counselling Service is a free and confidential service which provides information and assistance on financial position, budgets and submitting applications - https://www.raa.nsw.gov.au/rfc or telephone 1800 940 404.

Emergency Drought Transport Subsidy - up to $50,000 is now available for freight expenses to cover the cost of transporting fodder, water for stock and domestic use, stock, farm chemicals, fertiliser and seed to farms. Call the Rural Assistance Authority on 1800 678 593 or visit https://www.raa.nsw.gov.au/grants/transport-subsidy-emergency-drought-relief.

The South East Local Land Services can assist with livestock and pasture advice, animal health issues, pest animal problems, travel stock routes, and applying for roadside grazing permits. Visit https://southeast.lls.nsw.gov.au/ for more information.

10. What is Council Doing?

We have introduced a number of measures to assist drought and fire affected farming families. These include:

  • Donating $15,000 to the Braidwood Community Help Fund. This will be distributed to farming families affected by drought and bushfires and support BlazeAid
  • Fund hire fees of the Braidwood Showground for the duration of the BlazeAid operation
  • Holding a social event for farmers
  • Waive Braidwood Saleyards fees
  • Extend the Farm Focus Business Development Program
  • Subsidise works related to fire and dam reinstatement
  • Reviewing the Financial Hardship and Assistance Policy to enable extension of automatic hardship relief for farmland rate assessments for 2020-21.
  • Continue with advocacy to the Australian Government to increase the FAG annual allocation
  • Consider staff resources in next Delivery Program to assist control in biosecurity weeds
  • Lobby government for relaxation of eligibility criteria for farm subsidies and reduction in red tape that impacts ability to harvest water for farm dams. 

At our meeting on 22 January 2020, Council agreed to utilise the $1m in bushfire assistance from the Federal Government to:

  • Offset assistance measures such as, waiving fees at the Braidwood Showground, subsiding private works relating to dam clearing, waste disposal fees, development application and inspection fees and rates rebates - estimated $300,000
  • Fit out the recovery centre and arrange repairs to Braidwood evacuation centre and recovery camp at Showground - estimated $50,000
  • Recruit a fixed-term local bushfire recovery coordinator - estimated $100,000
  • Recruit a fixed-term economic development officer to work with businesses in affected area - estimated $175,000
  • Initiate a TV advertising campaign to help restore local economies in Braidwood and Bungendore - estimated $25,000
  • Second a community development officer to engage with community to restore and build resilience in affected communities - estimated $150,000
  • Provide financial support for local wildlife recovery groups  - $10,000
  • Hold balance in reserve for unfunded infrastructure repairs - estimated $190,000

Financial Assistance Program

Download the Financial Assistance Policy here(PDF, 232KB).