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Support for councils

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.

NSW Bushfire Community and Resilience Fund grants

Eligible local councils, joint organisations, not-for-profits and non-government organisations from NSW bushfire disaster declared areas can now apply for funding under the Bushfire Community Recovery and Resilience Fund (BCRRF).

This joint Commonwealth-State funding supports community well-being, social and broader recovery and disaster resilience.

The Fund has two streams.

Stream 1 provides small-scale grants for eligible local councils in the form of payments of $100,000 or $250,000. Eligible councils are required to use a minimum of 25% of the funding towards a council-led small-scale community grants program to contribute towards small community initiatives. 

  • $100,000 grant: eligible councils include Central Coast, Coffs Harbour, Dungog, Goulburn Mulwaree, and Upper Lachlan.
  • $250,000 grant: eligible councils include Tenterfield, Glen Innes, Armidale Regional, Walcha, Richmond Valley, Eurobodalla, Queanbeyan-Palerang, Kyogle, Clarence Valley, Kempsey, Nambucca, Port Macquarie-Hastings, Shoalhaven, Snowy Monaro, MidCoast, Hawesbury, Blue Mountains, Lithgow, Singleton, Snowy Valleys, Wingecarribee, Cessnock, Oberon, Wollondilly, Mid Western, Bega Valley, and Greater Hume.

Applications for Stream 1 close at noon on 27 October 2020. Apply through the Resilience NSW website

Stream 2 provides project funding from $20,000 up to $300,000 for application by eligible councils, not-for-profit and non-government organisations in all bushfire disaster declared LGAs since 31 August 2019. Projects eligible for funding could include:

  • Regional social events and digital communication initiatives that support social recovery, commemoration and improve community connectedness;
  • Delivery of new social infrastructure within the region supporting community resilience through community connectedness;
  • Programs and initiatives that support community recovery and well-being including support for improved identity of place, cultural heritage and environmental restoration;
  • Community education programs to improve regional knowledge and resilience in response and preparedness to future natural disasters and how to be better prepared for hazards into the future;
  • Local and Regional community strengthening activities that focus on capacity building and planning for the future. 

Applications for Stream 2 close at noon on 11 December 2020. Apply through the Resilience NSW website

The funding for the BCRRF is through joint Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements, administered by Resilience NSW. This funding is in addition to Local Economic Recovery funding, and other support provided through the National Bushfire Recovery Fund.

For more information on eligibility criteria, visit the Resilience NSW website at www.resilience.nsw.gov.au