As milder weather and rains ease bushfire conditions across the country, funding to support those hit by the recent disaster have been announced both at the state and federal level.
The NSW Government has announced $1 billion in funding over the next two years for repairing and rebuilding vital infrastructure such as roads, rail lines, bridges, schools, health facilities and communications facilities.
NSW State Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said the funding would help fast track the recovery process, as well as provide an economic boost to communities hit by bushfires.
“Nobody can undo what is done, but what we can do is ensure these communities have every chance and opportunity to get back to business and start rebuilding as soon as possible,” Perrottet said.
On a larger scale, the Federal Government has announced it will establish a new bushfire recovery agency, with an initial $2 billion funding injection to assist in rebuilding communities.
Led by Andrew Colvin, the National Bushfire Recovery Agency will be modelled off the North Queensland Livestock Industry Recovery Agency, which was established in 2019 following floods within the state, as well as the experience of the Victorian Bushfire Reconstruction and Recovery Authority, created after the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires.
The $2 billion includes an initial and immediate base payment of $1 million to 42 of the most severely affected councils in NSW, Victoria, South Australia and Queensland to help rebuild vital infrastructure and strengthen communities.
A further $18 million is set aside for larger council areas that have experienced the most significant damage.
“An unprecedented joint effort with the states, territories and local government will be required to assist with the recovery, rebuilding and future resilience of these communities,” said Treasurer Josh Frydenberg.
“Our initial $2 billion investment [will] help to get communities back on their feet by assisting with restocking and replenishing, rebuilding roads and telecommunications infrastructure, mental health support, attracting tourists back to the regions and helping restore the local environment and impacted wildlife.”
The bill for damage caused by the bushfires currently exceeds an estimated $500 million, with the Insurance Council of Australia confirming more than 1600 property losses. The bulk of these – about 85 per cent – have been in NSW so far.
If you’d like to donate to bushfire recovery, click the button below to see a list of charities and agencies helping with relief efforts.