A story from Cobargo in NSW, reflecting life in October 2020
“She is the best thing since sliced bread,” enthused Warren Salway, a beef producer from Cobargo on the NSW south coast.
Warren is talking about Susan Jackson, his local Recovery Support Officer.
Recovery Support Officers (RSOs) from the National Bushfire Recovery Agency help support the recovery of bushfire-affected communities. RSOs work with local and state government counterparts to ensure a coordinated approach to locally led recovery.
Susan was able to provide advice on all the bushfire recovery assistance available - she helped connect Warren with the right support and she helped him fill out forms and navigate the application process.
“She has just been so helpful – she will bend over backwards. She knows how to get answers out of people. I say she’s like a Jack Russell biting at your heels – she gets results, put it that way,” said Warren.
“Susan got us through to where we have submitted grants and applied for grants.”
Warren has received a primary producer grant, jointly funded by the federal and NSW state governments, but initially had some difficulties in the grant application process.
“I was trying to work out how to get access to all the grants that were announced after the bushfires and then Susan contacted me because I had been quite vocal in my frustration,” said Warren.
The Black Summer bushfires have taken a terrible toll on Warren and his family. His brother Robert and nephew Patrick both died in the fires. His business was dramatically affected as well.
“We lost $1.7 million in infrastructure and trying to rebuild everything. We lost two houses, we lost five sheds, 30 kilometres of fencing, and we lost 150 head of cattle – we copped a pretty hiding really,” he said.
Ten months on, Warren has replaced 20 kilometres of fencing, has three of the five sheds back up and has managed to get two transportable houses from the insurance on one house.
To connect with a Recovery Support Officer near you, visit www.bushfirerecovery.gov.au/find-recovery-support-officer