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Local Government

Local Government Areas Grants Programs

To help the most severely bushfire-impacted Local Government Areas (LGAs) to quickly rebuild vital infrastructure and strengthen community resilience following the 2019-20 bushfires, the Australian Government provided payments to local councils under the LGA Grants Program.

Payments were delivered in two rounds:

  • Round 1 – An initial $1 million payment was provided to LGAs who were Category C activated under the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements as at 9 January 2020.  
  • Round 2 - Payments were made to any LGA that was activated for Category C assistance as at 24 January 2020, based on a five tiered impact model.

This model took into account available metrics at the time, and equally weighted five impact metrics including: the population of the areas; the proportion of the population in receipt of Disaster Recovery payments; the proportion of the LGA burnt; the number of prior disaster events; and the Australian Bureau of Statistic’s Index of Relative Socio-economic Advantage and Disadvantage of the LGA.

The full list of councils and total allocations (PDF 48KB)

How it works

This assistance supplements the range of other support measures being provided by the Australian Government and States and Territories. For further details on support, see the Recovery Assistance page.

Funding for the LGA Grants Program is provided by the Australian Government to State Governments to administer and distribute via the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements. Payments to States are Category D payments under the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements. 

Local councils know their communities best and can direct funding to where it is needed most. They may use their grants on projects and activities they deem essential for community recovery, such as, but not limited to:

  • Rebuilding damaged or destroyed council assets such as key local roads, bridges, and community facilities;
  • Employing additional local staff to take on specialist recovery or planning roles to help coordinate and plan the rebuilding effort;
  • Hosting new public activities and events to bring communities together and attract visitors back to affected regions;
  • Activities and measures to support local economic recovery; and
  • Immediate maintenance and repairs to relief and evacuation centres.

Projects and activities must have a connection to assisting the community in their bushfire recovery, which can include economic recovery. Noting all communities are also impacted by COVID-19, activities undertaken for bushfire recovery, including economic recovery activities, may also be beneficial for a community’s COVID-19 recovery.

Accountability is important in the administration of any grants program. State Governments are the administrators of this program and have accountabilities for the program as an activity under the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements. Councils are required to keep appropriate records of expenditure for Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangement audit and assurance purposes.

Eligible councils need to develop a Program of Works within three months of receiving funding, and report back to the NBRA in 12 months’ time on progress. The reporting to the NBRA is coordinated via the States.

Types of projects included in Programs of Works include:

  • Infrastructure projects, including repairs and removal of dead trees;
  • Resilience improvements to evacuation centres;
  • Employment of recovery officers, and community, health and wellbeing activities or support for community groups; and
  • Hosting of events, and upgrades to facilities to promote economic activity, bring communities together or attract visitors.

Questions about the LGA Grants Program can be directed to LGASupport@bushfirerecovery.gov.au.