9 April 2021

$3.6 million in funds to fuel region's bushfire recovery

| Michael Weaver
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Member for Monaro John Barilaro with Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council Mayor Tim Overall and Cr Mark Schweikert standing in front of fire truck from Braidwood

Deputy Premier and Member for Monaro John Barilaro with Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council Mayor Tim Overall and Cr Mark Schweikert. Photo: Supplied.

More than a year after the clean-up from the 2019-20 Black Summer bushfires began, money is still flowing to parts of the region from the NSW and Federal governments with more than $3.6 million in funding to be shared across the Monaro to support community-led recovery projects.

Rural Fire Service sheds in the Queanbeyan-Palerang and Monaro regions, the restoration of a hall at Araluen and a documentary telling the stories of those impacted by the fires in the Braidwood region are among those already to receive funds for a range of projects and programs.

Assistance will also be provided to clean-up ‘strike forces’ of Australian Defence Force, Rural Fire Service and Fire and Rescue NSW personnel. These teams will help clean up and remove debris still affecting many residences.

The assistance follows from the recent announcement that the NSW Government would waive its waste levy fee for people disposing of flood-generated waste so they could use local tips without having to pay tip fees.

“We have been calling on the Government to permanently waive the levy it collects – around $800 million annually – in the case of natural disasters such as fires and floods to allow councils to focus on getting their communities back on their feet,” Local Government NSW president Linda Scott said.

READ ALSO Oysters off the Easter menu for many after devastating floods

Making the announcement of the funding at the Braidwood Rural Fire Service, Deputy Premier and Member for Monaro John Barilaro and Federal Senator Jim Molan said their governments were committed to getting the community back on its feet after the bushfires.

Projects to repair flood-damaged public assets such as roads, community, recreation and cultural assets such as sporting fields and environmental assets such as beaches will also be provided, along with financial assistance for flood-impacted small businesses and primary producers.

“This funding will support a range of projects and programs that are designed to help our communities continue their recovery and build resilience,” Mr Barilaro said.

“All corners of the Monaro were heavily impacted during the 2019/2020 bushfire season. The trail of destruction saw lives and homes lost as well as towns cut off, but the Monaro community is strong, and I’m committed to helping the region as we continue this road to recovery.”

He said the funding will also help projects assisting people with mental health issues and assisting local businesses.

“Successful projects include the establishment of an adventure youth program in the Snowy Monaro to help young people deal with life stresses, upgrades to RFS stations across the Monaro to improve capabilities, restoring the Federal Hall at Araluen and a documentary that will tell the stories of those impacted by the fires in the Braidwood region,” Mr Barilaro said.

READ ALSO Volunteer firefighter Scott Hart nominated for Braidwood Biggies award

Linda Scott also welcomed the additional funding, saying the NSW and Federal governments had listened to the association’s calls for councils and communities to have urgent access to clean up and recovery funding to help them get back on their feet as quickly as possible.

“The floods are simply the latest in a string of disasters and challenges to hit our councils, following on from droughts, bushfires and the COVID-19 pandemic,” Cr Scott said.

“I have spent the past week speaking to State and Federal members on both sides of the political fence to raise awareness and ensure councils were given everything they need to provide a locally-led recovery for their communities.”

If you require recovery support, contact the bushfire customer care line on 13 77 88, or visit the Service NSW website.

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