Council expands assistance package for bushfire-affected communities

Published on 23 January 2020

Photo of staff in the Bushfire Recovery Centre

Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council’s assistance package for bushfire-affected communities will be expanded to include economic development, tourism and community development assistance.

At its meeting on Wednesday night, Council increased its bushfire assistance package following the announcement of $1m in bushfire assistance from the Federal Government and formally agreed to donate the funds allocated to the Queanbeyan Australia Day fireworks to bushfire relief.

The Federal Government funding will be utilised 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 (est $300k)
  • Fit out the recovery centre and arrange repairs to Braidwood evacuation centre and recovery camp at Showground (est $50k)
  • Recruit a fixed-term local bushfire recovery coordinator (est $100k)
  • Recruit a fixed-term economic development officer to work with businesses in affected area (est $175k)
  • Initiate a TV advertising campaign to help restore local economies in Braidwood and Bungendore (est $25k)
  • Second a community development officer to engage with community to restore and build resilience in affected communities (est $150k)
  • Provide financial support for local wildlife recovery groups ($10k)
  • Hold balance in reserve for unfunded infrastructure repairs (est $190k)

“The Queanbeyan-Palerang community has been heavily affected by the bushfires, with 57 houses destroyed by fire and countless properties suffering extensive damage,” Queanbeyan-Palerang Mayor, Cr Tim Overall said.

“The long task of rebuilding these houses and properties has now commenced. We will also focus on the economies of our affected towns and villages such as Braidwood, Bungendore, Nerriga and surrounds that have also suffered from the impact of the bushfires.

“Council has established a Bushfire Recovery Centre in Braidwood to assist directly affected residents and these new measures, along with those already implemented in December 2019, will help our community get back on its feet.”

A draft financial assistance program will be placed on public exhibition. The draft program features a subsidy for development application and inspection fees for rebuilding destroyed homes and infrastructure and a $470 rate rebate for all rate assessments where homes have been destroyed or rendered uninhabitable.

The extension of the bushfire recovery package comes after Council resolved to donate $15,000 in total to the Braidwood Community Help Fund, part of which has been directed to support BlazeAid setting up its operations at the Braidwood Showground. The fund is being administered by the Braidwood Bendigo Community Bank and Braidwood Life Centre. Council also agreed to a number of measures in December to support bushfire and drought affected residents. Details on bushfire and drought assistance can be found at www.qprc.nsw.gov.au/Bushfire-and-Drought-assistance

 

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