Despite the new and extraordinary challenges of the past few months, I want bushfire affected communities to know we are still advocating for you and you are not forgotten.
Today the Australian Government unveiled a new $650 million package to support locally-led bushfire recovery with additional funding and support from the Commonwealth.
Part of the $2 billion National Bushfire Recovery Fund, this package is focused on reviving and strengthening local economies; ensuring community wellbeing for the long-term; rebuilding infrastructure; and nurturing our environment and native wildlife back to health.
More than $448.5 million will be used as a Local Economic Recovery and Complementary Projects Fund to fast-track the delivery of locally-led projects that align to recovery plans in impacted regions. As you would expect, we need to prioritise the most severely impacted regions but let me assure you funding will be available for all communities hurt during the 2019-20 bushfire crisis.
I envisage a range of projects will be funded – both big and small – all taking into account each region’s unique needs and characteristics.
Projects will differ in each region, but they are likely to include:
- Infrastructure programs
- Community wellbeing and resilience
- Local tourism campaigns
- Water saving programs
- Replacement of produce and stock
My team has been working closely with all levels of government, peak bodies, not-for-profits and, of course, local communities to develop a shared vision for medium and long-term recovery. We are supporting communities to move to a real and sustained recovery, no matter how far along the recovery journey they are.
I have spoken with impacted State and Territory Recovery Coordinators, and asked them to draw on the knowledge of local councils and communities to provide the National Bushfire Recovery Agency with their priority projects.
I look forward to seeing the results of our joint efforts as we work with the States and local communities in this next phase of recovery.
This is a tough time for all people living in bushfire affected communities, and there is help available. Please reach out if you need support – call your state recovery hotline, or contact us to discuss your individual circumstances. Let us help you on your recovery journey.