10 November 2020

Bushfire affected communities receive grants to rebuild local halls

| Sharon Kelley
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Andrew Constance with members of Wandella community.

Member for Bega Andrew Constance (centre) with members of the Wandella community. Photo: Supplied.

Kiah and Wandella residents will receive a share of $3 million to fund the rebuilding and restoration of local halls after they were damaged by the Black Summer bushfires.

Member for Bega Andrew Constance made the announcement during his visit to bushfire affected Wandella. The funding is a grant from the Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Fund, which is co-funded by the NSW and Australian governments.

Kiah and Wandella are two of three community halls in regional NSW which will receive grants to rebuild.

“In many rural and regional communities, the hall is the centre point of everything that goes on and for some towns and villages it’s the only significant building,” said Mr Constance.

READ ALSO Grants to help businesses recover after Black Summer fires

“This funding will give Kiah and Wandella locals a brand new hall after theirs was lost early this year.

“Community halls often accommodate weddings, meetings, birthdays and annual events, making it the beating heart of country towns – symbolising hope and prosperity.

“The share of $3 million in funding to rebuild our halls is an investment in the social fabric of our community. It will also provide direct economic stimulus, creating jobs for locals.”

The funding will be allocated to Bega Valley Shire Council, which will work with the communities to build the new halls.

Bega Valley Shire Council Mayor Russell Fitzpatrick thanked the NSW Government and Andrew Constance for their ongoing support for the bushfire recovery effort.

“This is fantastic news for the local hall committees and will assist the council in rebuilding back, better than ever,” he said.

READ ALSO Landcare announces grants for bushfire affected local groups

“We are fortunate to have architect Tim Lee working with us and the community in Wandella to help design what they would like to see in their new community hall.”

NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro said the Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Fund is designed to deliver infrastructure and initiatives to boost economic and social recovery, increase community preparedness for future natural disasters, and help residents to get back on their feet.

“Our regional communities have been doing it tough, to say the least, which is why we are backing projects that will put people back in work, retain existing jobs and stimulate local economies with a focus on improving essential community infrastructure and industry development,” said Mr Barilaro.

READ ALSO Tailored help for bushfire victims wanting to rebuild

“The funds delivered for these important projects will put people in work sooner and deliver a variety of shovel-ready projects and programs that will make a genuine difference to the lives of people living in regional communities.”

Communities can apply for a share of $250 million in the Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Fund, which opened for grant applications on 27 October, 2020.

Grants of between $200,000 and $20 million are available to councils, joint organisations, business chambers, charities, businesses, and Local Aboriginal Land Councils to deliver successful projects.

For further information, including guidelines, visit the Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Fund website.

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Very good. I hope they consider the possibilities of making their new halls also places of safe retreat in future bushfires, as the people of Cobargo are proposing with their new Showground venue.

A bit humorous having Andrew Constance and John Barilaro both seen to be backing this initiative, given their very public spat over Eden Monaro. Our political system is a bit of a joke, isn’t it. And Barilaro is a total joke.

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