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Local recovery projects

Local Economic Recovery and Complementary Projects Fund

On 11 May 2020, the Australian Government announced $448.5 million in Local Economic Recovery (LER) and Complementary Project funding. This money will help bushfire-affected communities restore local economies and build back better, and it is supported by additional co-funding contributions from states.

The LER funding supports locals to lead recovery in their area. With our state and local partners, we can make sure support goes to where it’s needed. By partnering with state governments to co-fund projects, the NBRA can maximise funding available to affected communities.

We know it takes time for communities to move forward after a disaster. The most effective approach to long-term social and economic recovery is to:

  • listen to the advice of the local communities who know what is best for their recovery
  • support local recovery priorities.

A collaborative, well-coordinated, and flexible approach to recovery is key.

The process for funding LER projects

State governments are running the process of identifying the right projects to meet community needs, in line with national criteria agreed among states and the NBRA. These criteria are set out in Frequently Asked Questions on our website.

The process is a bit different in each state – some are doing an open call for project ideas, while others are working directly with local recovery committees and councils on local priorities. Great things take time, but momentum is gathering and the first projects are beginning to be approved.  

Projects are being assessed and announced progressively. Some information is below about who you can talk to in your area, to make sure the priorities for you and your community are factored in.

South Australia

The South Australian Government is consulting directly with local councils, recovery committees, communities, and other stakeholders in bushfire-affected areas. Projects already announced include Kangaroo Island’s desalination project.

  •  $19.8 million for Kangaroo Island’s new desalination plant which will improve water security, support industries and provide long-term social and economic recovery.

More projects are expected to be considered in the coming weeks. 

Queensland

Submissions for the Expressions of Interest closed on 7 September 2020. To learn more about the process and eligibility visit the Queensland Reconstruction Authority websiteSix Queensland projects have already been announced. These are:

  • $2,000,000 to design and construct a four-megalitre concrete potable water supply reservoir and associated infrastructure in Livingstone Shire Council
  • $1,690,000 to open an underground water source near Chillagoe in Mareeba Shire Council
  • $1,610,000 to improve and create new links within a priority section of Noosa’s hinterland trails network in Noosa Shire Council
  • $67,500 to upgrade facilities in the Boonah Cultural and Community Hub in Scenic Rim Regional Council
  • $250,000 to construct Stage 1 of the Mount Glen Rock Recreation and Nature Reserve development in Somerset Regional Council
  • $385,000 to construct Stage 2 of the Mount Glen Rock Recreation and Nature Reserve development in in Somerset Regional Council

More projects are expected to be considered in the coming months. 

NSW 

Joint Local Economic Recovery funding from the Australian and New South Wales governments will support projects that drive local economic, community and industry recovery in parts of New South Wales hit hard by the 2019-20 bushfires. This joint funding is being delivered in two ways:

  • Known priority community and industry recovery projects are being identified by the NSW Government and agreed to by the Australian Government, following local and industry consultation. This includes the 71 projects recently announced.
  • Applications opened 27 October for project funding under the $250 million Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Fund. Communities are encouraged to apply for grants of between $200,000 and $20 million. Grants are open to organisations such as councils, Joint Organisations of Councils, not-for-profit organisations, business chambers, industry associations and charities, research or academic oranisations, State Government Corporations and Local Aboriginal Land Councils to deliver successful projects. For more information, visit www.nsw.gov.au/blerfund.
  • Applicants can get advice on developing their project proposals. Please contact regionalnsw.business@dpc.nsw.gov.au or call 1300 679 673 for assistance.

Project details are below for most of the 71 projects announced on 2 November 2020.

Further project details will be published as project proponents are notified. 

Projects approved in NSW

  • More than $3.8 million to upgrade accommodation, recreation and commercial infrastructure at the Dumaresq Dam to support tourism and provide employment opportunities.
  • $2 million to extend the walking track alongside Goulburn’s historic Wollondilly River to increase the health and wellbeing of residents and support tourism.
  • $8.2 million to overhaul the well-loved Casino Showground and Racecourse, increasing venue capacity and allowing it to host major national and international equestrian competitions and other high profile events.
  • $2 million to improve resilience of power and communications in the Shoalhaven region, by facilitating development of micro-grids in place of existing and fire-damaged power infrastructure and delivering back-up communication connectivity through satellite digital communication.
  • More than $11 million to build a Macleay Valley Skydiving Adventure Park. It will deliver indoor rock-climbing facilities, training facilities, a canopy piloting hanger, swoop pond, accommodation and amenities, enhancing the region’s tourism offerings.
  • $8 million to upgrade the severely fire and flood damaged Wombeyan Caves Road at Bullio, allowing tourist and local traffic to more easily access the region, its landmarks and attractions such as Wombeyan Caves.
  • $3 million to provide the Rappville community with a packaged sewage treatment plant, replacing the current individual systems for each property. The project is intended to support the growth and liveability of the town as it continues its recovery.
  • More than $2.7 million to provide a new roundabout at Shores Drive in Yamba to ease traffic congestion and support tourism and local economic conditions in the region
  • $1 million to develop a shared-pathway and improvements along the Farmers Creek green belt, improving accessibility and developing green spaces and liveability in the Lithgow community.
  • Almost $5 million to replace and extend facilities and amenities at the Livestock selling centres in Armidale and Guyra, supporting the recovery of the key agricultural sector in the region.
  • $131,000 to help Macleay River Farm Oysters in Kempsey Shire create an automated oyster grading and processing facility on the Macleay River. This will provide a solid platform to grow current production of Sydney Rock oysters.
  • More than $300,000 to The Beekeeper's Honey in Kempsey Shire, to install a modern, B-QUAL accredited honey packing facility and related equipment. The resulting facility will also provide a new contract packing service to other NSW beekeepers. 
  • More than $107,000 to Macleay River Haulage in Kempsey Shire to purchase safe and effective machinery that will produce bulk firewood.
  • More than $742,000 for a project in the Richmond Valley area, to ensure the long-term viability of the Rappville sawmill, upgrade equipment and infrastructure to expand capability and provide ongoing employment in the industry. It will involve the replacement, upgrade or adaptation of existing plant and equipment including technology or energy efficiency upgrades.
  • $10 million in Clarence Valley Shire to help Big River Group relocate key assets (people and plant) to Grafton and invest in critical new technical equipment to enhance capability and capacity. The outcome will be a sustainable, value add business utilising available wood resources in Northern NSW to produce technical and specialty timber products for the market.
  • $2.5 million to Clarence Valley Council to upgrade a series of currently unsealed sections of the Clarence Way to the south from Keybarbin to Flagstone Creek, with the objective of supporting local agricultural and forestry industry operations. The project will improve access to markets via safe and reliable road access for freight, local businesses and the local community.
  • More than $275,000 in the Tamworth area to help Arc-en-Ciel Rainbow Trout upgrade infrastructure. The project will create efficient hatching and growing infrastructure with monitoring and control systems and upgrade the processing plant. This will help retain and create jobs, and enabling the business to become sustainable for the long term.
  • More than $500,000 for the Hurford Wood Supply Recovery Project in Kyogle Council area, to provide capacity to replant quickly with well suited native tree varieties and rehabilitate these devastated natural assets.
  • More than $1.5 million to Boral Timber to deliver an innovative and pioneering small-scale bio-energy reactor at the Kyogle mill.  Improving energy efficiency at the mill will support its continued viability, reducing costs and providing an alternative income source by providing energy to the grid during non-operational hours.
  • $455,000 for a project in the Port Macquarie-Hastings area, to install a new integrated system in Hayden Timbers hardwood sawmill. The new system will provide new technology, improve production efficiencies and improve employee safety. It will cater for a change in log supply and type as result of the impact of the bush fires in 2019 and 2020.
  • More than $585,000 to the Hunter Valley Wine and Tourism Association, to sustain the sector and ensure the industry remains viable in the longer term, by harnessing innovation, business diversification and market expansion.
  • $194,000 to Snives Hives to establish a Meadery to make and wholesale honey wine on the Central Coast of NSW. The process of fermenting the honey is a value-adding process to raw honey. It provides for market expansion and product diversification in the apiculture industry, which will aid in industry sustainability and growth.
  • $456,000 to Yarraman Wybong Vineyard in Muswellbrook Shire Council, to deliver increased and diversified production, provide facilities for workers and increase the capacity to market and export grape and olive produce. The project is supporting economic diversification and employment opportunities in the region.
  • $1.23 million for a project in the Hawksbury area, to help Bilpin Fruit Bowl clean-up, replace and upgrade existing fire damaged infrastructure and develop a new 8000 square metre energy efficient hot house that will allow for undercover "Pick Your Own" strawberries. This project will diversify the enterprise and allow production to extend to 12 months a year.
  • More than $1.1 million to TNT Produce in the Hawksbury region, to build a 500 square meter colour bond shed to facilitate entry to the orchard for pick your own fruit, and purchase additional equipment to assist with the expected increase in the crop coming from rebuilding of the orchard.
  • $390,000 for a project in Wingecarribee Shire Council, to help Southern Honey establish a commercial queen bee breeding capability in order to support rebuilding, restocking and future development of the NSW Apiary industry in the Southern Highlands.
  • $50,000 to Wingecarribee Shire Council for a Southern Highlands Produce Hub Feasibility Study. The study will determine the long term resilience benefits to producers within the Southern Highlands and surrounds of being able to move produce to national and international markets from a transfer hub set up on a main transport corridor. A hub could provide significant economies of scale for the small to medium term producers.
  • $260,000 for a project in Wingecarribee Shire, to grow the Southern Highlands Food & Wine Festival event which offers dynamic representation of the industry’s four key industry sectors –  Beer, Wine, Spirits, Food.
  • $80,000 to The Loch in Wingecarribee Shire for a Growers & Producers Industry Development Project. It will help growers and producers improve production and marketing in bushfire impacted regions across NSW, through communications, workshops, mentoring, skills training and events designed to address knowledge gaps and strengthen market opportunities.
  • More than $137,000 to Boral Timber in the Shoalhaven region, for a project to install a second docking and packing line at the Nowra sawmill, specifically designed to produce short length green timber products. By diversifying the production at the mill it is increasing market opportunities and providing new employment for the region, driving economic growth and recovery.
  • $225,000 to McAsh Oysters in Eurobodalla Shire, to modernise and scale up oyster production and develop higher value markets for oysters in the Clyde River and NSW.
  •  More than $1 million to RTG in Bega Valley Shire, for expansion of their wood pellet production line. The project is for the installation of a raw material wood fibre collection bunker and walking floor, biomass dryer and heat plant, raw material storage silo and a larger higher capacity wood pellet production plant (larger than existing pellet line) and automatic bagging line.
  • More than $945,000 to South East Fibre Exports in the Bega Valley Shire, to replace, upgrade and/or adapt the damaged Eden export chip facility. This project seeks to provide the necessary infrastructure to upgrade the site power distribution network, to allow for new developments and restoring the existing processing capacity.
  • $670,000 to Aljo Pastora dairy operations in Bega Valley Shire, for a project to upgrade and modernise production methods, providing an opportunity to diversify income streams, improve water-use efficiency at the site and build economic resilience. For the region the project will provide employment opportunities and help to strengthen a key industry and reduce the economic-impact of future natural disasters.
  • More than $180,000 to Pallet Collars Australia in Bega Valley Shire, to install an upgraded new pallet collar production line and new equipment, and fit a roof mounted fire suppression sprinkler system to prevent against bushfire ember attack.
  • $62,000 to Stirling Oysters in Bega Valley Shire, to support the development of the oyster export market from the Merimbula lake aquaculture region.
  • More than $170,000 for the Wonboyn River Shellfish Quality Assurance Program in Bega Valley Shire. This project will support the oyster farmers of Wonboyn to adapt farming methods in response to changing environmental conditions, enabling sustainability and growth of the industry. By replacing, upgrading and/or adapting existing plant and equipment, this project will assist in the repair of damaged infrastructure after the January 2020 bushfires.
  • $314,000 to Ryefield Hops in Bega Valley Shire for a project to increase on-site production, develop new products (including plant breeding and sales) and develop tourism opportunities. Site tours and tastings will encourage tourism to the region, helping economic recovery and supporting job growth.
  • $300,000 in Bega Valley Shire to help Broadwater Oysters develop new manufacturing processes by transforming tray and floating basket aquaculture system into a 'Flip-Farm', to double production of Sydney Rock Oysters and generate local employment in the seafood sector.
  • $1.5 million to FM & JE Terlich in Bega Valley Shire for a dairy production modulated expansion model. The project will develop new manufacturing processes that extend dairy lines, expand the product range and double capacity. This contributes to additional employment, training opportunities and benefit to the community at large, providing a model for future boutique dairy processing facilities.
  • More than $337,000 to Courabyra Wines in Snowy Valleys, to extend the existing cellar door to develop a dedicated conference and wedding venue. The development will provide year-round seated capacity for an additional 120 visitors.
  • $10 million to Visy Pulp and Paper in Snowy Valleys, to install a Stacker Reclaimer system, an advanced wood fibre handling augmentation. This upgrade/adaption will lead to a material and transformational shift in the processing of plantation softwood resources, ensuring the sustainability and continued growth of the region’s forestry industry and jobs.
  • $418,000 to support the growth of Mount Tumbarumba Vineyard in Snowy Valleys, through construction of a contemporary cellar door, two boutique accommodation spaces, an outdoor area for functions and fit out enabling on-site café / function catering.
  • $991,000 to Ardrossan Nurseries in Snowy Valleys to develop a nursery which adopts the latest nursery practices to support fast track tree availability, including innovative growing practices and tissue cultures in tubes. It will strengthen the Batlow region’s agri-capability and competitive advantage as a growing region, expedite tree availability for Batlow’s apple industry recovery and ensure consistent tree quality at affordable prices. The flow-on benefits will increase economic activity and job security in the Batlow region.
  • $10 million to upgrade and modernise the Tumut Mill in Snowy Valleys, incorporating the latest technologies to increase production and reduce waste. When completed the project will support the recovery of the region’s timber industry, provide new job opportunities and support the local recovery.
  • $275,000 to the Snowy Mountains Forests Australia Trust in Snowy Valleys, to replace the existing bridge on Tarcutta Creek and Baga Creek with a new structure and locate another crossing at the western end of the plantation. The project will support the recovery of the forestry industry in the region, supporting job growth, safety and economic recovery.
  • More than $2.28 million to Seven Springs Orchard in Snowy Valleys, to support apple production as a key part of the horticulture industry in the region. Delivering modern, high-density production areas and making use of previously unproductive blocks, the project will support economic growth and work opportunities in the region as it recovers.
  • More than $43,000 to Tumbarumba Wines Escape in Snowy Valleys for a Tumbarumba Wines Escape cellar door refurbishment project. It will expand tourism facilities to support the region’s economic recovery and boost tourism and event opportunities.
  • $240,000 to the Tumbarumba Vignerons Association in Snowy Valleys, for Project Tumbarumba Rising Star. It will fund a 5-year Industry Development Plan, aiming to elevate the Tumbarumba wine brand to match that of Tasmania, Mornington Peninsula and Yarra Valley. The project will include education and skills upgrade of growers and winemakers, and fund activities to improve market distribution, brand awareness, and drive sales.
  • More than $3.95 million to Snowy Valleys Council to construct infrastructure at the Batlow Caravan Park to increase the amount of accommodation available for itinerant workers who are employed in the horticulture industry. This will address accommodation lost during the 2019-20 bushfires and meet demand for increased accommodation capacity so the horticulture industry can undertake recovery initiatives.
  • More than $3.5 million to develop a new cider manufacturing and distribution centre and tourism experience in Snowy Valleys Shire. The existing Apple Thief cider business will be relocated to Batlow, replacing current interstate contract fermentation and bottling arrangement with an integrated new cidery, using Batlow apples and providing new employment opportunities in Batlow.  A new specialist cider variety apple organic orchard will be established on site, as well as a 'hub' offering space for community and private events.
  • $480,000 to help Snowy Valleys Council repair the Wondalga Road junction which is an important part of the logistics network linking the softwood plantations of the Snowy Valleys Functional Economic Region with the world-scale sawmills and pulp mill of the region.
  • More than $300,000 to Australian Honeybee Enterprises to update and expand the processing and packaging capabilities of Gundagai Gold Honey, Beehive Beauty and Australian healing honeys.
  • More than $330,000 to the NSW Wine Industry Association to enable the NSW wine industry to more effectively manage the effects of fires and smoke in the future. The project will expand the resources, practical tools, technical knowledge, skills, and education of the industry, focussing on both grape and wine production.
  • More than $113,000 to the NSW Farmers Association to contribute towards a national marketing campaign by Oysters Australia, driving demand to facilitate sustainable growth.
  • $6 million to the Dairy Research Foundation, to develop an industry-driven 5-year research, development and extensions program of work to accelerate the recovery of the fire-affected NSW Dairy Industry and improve farm business resilience and the sustainability of the dairy supply chain.
  • More than $1.94 million to the University of Sydney, for a project to ‘future proof’ the NSW apiary industry and keep beekeepers in jobs. The outcomes of the project will improve confidence and investment in the NSW apiary industry, provide a pathway that secures additional native floral resources, increase beekeeper skills, and boost the apiary industry’s resilience and sustainability.
  • More than $1.1 million to the NSW Farmers Association to develop a ‘Responsible Oyster Farming Program’ – a series of short training modules aligned with the industry code of practice to upskill existing farmers or those entering the industry. This project will support the workforce needs of the aquaculture industry.
  • Over $514,000 to the NSW Farmers Association to design individual estuary/harvest area management plans to mitigate future bushfire and environmental impacts on the NSW oyster industry, to decrease closure days and provide practical advice on risk mitigation strategies during future bushfire related poor water quality events. It will model and assess water quality risks to harvesting in each estuary, and where data supports it, change harvest area management to reduce closure times. Research and development studies will be conducted.

Victoria

In Victoria, the Local Economic Recovery will have two streams, with 60 per cent of the funding – or $42 million – dedicated to regional economic projects and programs, and 40 per cent to fund local community projects. Communities have been consulted on the design of the program, to ensure it helps support their recovery priorities and gives them enough time to get their project proposals right. Applications opened on 29 October 2020.

Five Victorian projects, which are also supported by other third party funding contributions, have already been announced. These are:

  • $1,080,075 to begin work upgrading existing community facilities across East Gippsland, such as public halls and recreation reserve buildings, so they better meet the needs of communities. There will be works such as ember proofing, electrical upgrades and satellite communication and WIFI upgrades at community halls and facilities right across the region, including Wairewa Hall, Genoa Public Hall, Clifton Creek Community Public Hall, Ensay Memorial Hall and more.
  • $190,000 to restore and expand the Cudgewa tennis facility to provide the community with low cost space for recreation, community gatherings and events to build and sustain community connection.
  • $128,700 to re-establish a tree-lined avenue in Tintaldra commemorating the sacrifice and service of residents in World War I and the township’s local heroism and resilience during the 2020 bushfires.
  • $120,000 to build a 19.5 metre pedestrian bridge joining Harrietville with the east branch of the Ovens, to support tourism and mobility.
  • $40,000 to create three large murals in Mount Beauty to reflect community pride and create a significant new point of interest for tourists traveling through the town.

Applications for round one Local Community Project Grants are now open. For information on the process and eligibility, visit the Victoria Local Economic Recovery Program page.

How can I find out more?

See the national information in our Frequently Asked Questions.

We’ll provide regular updates on LER co-funding and state government processes, as well as successful projects, through the NBRA newsletter as they become available.