Deputy PM Michael McCormack and Cowper MP Pat Conaghan assess the bushfire damage at a property in Willawarrin on the Mid North Coast.
Deputy PM Michael McCormack and Cowper MP Pat Conaghan assess the bushfire damage at a property in Willawarrin on the Mid North Coast.

Funding boost of nearly $450m for bushfire recovery

A MASSIVE $448.5 million injection into bushfire recovery has been made by the Federal Government to create local economic recovery plans and fund projects.

Federal Member for Cowper Pat Conaghan said there was still a long road to recovery ahead, with the economic impact to the agriculture, tourism and forestry industries in Cowper alone at more than $56 million.

“This program is an opportunity for the community to share ideas and projects with the National Bushfire Recovery Agency through the state government who will work with local governments to rollout support as quickly as possible,” Mr Conaghan said.

“It recognises the importance of our local groups and residents having a voice in the recovery process.”

The National Bushfire Recovery Agency was established on January 9 and funded with an initial $2 billion to ensure the families, farmers and business owners hit by the devastating Spring and Summer bushfires would get the support needed to recover.

This agency has supported the State and Territory Governments and has co-ordinated the national response to the bushfires, under the leadership of Andrew Colvin APM AOM.

The $448.5 million Regional Bushfire Recovery and Development Program announced this week is accompanied by further investment in:

Forestry: $15 million to assist the forestry industry with the increased costs of transporting burned salvaged logs over longer distances to surviving timber mills or storage sites in bushfire affected areas in Victoria and New South Wales.

Community wellbeing: $13.5 million for community wellbeing and participation, backing Primary Health Networks with additional funding to provide critical, localised support for bushfire affected individuals to ensure their emotional and mental wellbeing.

Native wildlife and habitat restoration: $149.7 million for bushfire recovery related to species and landscapes such as habitat regeneration, waterway and catchment restoration including erosion control, weed and pest management.

Telecommunications: $27.1 million for strengthening telecommunications capabilities before the next bushfire season including the deployment of approximately 2000 satellite phones to rural fire depots and evacuation centres.