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.

Over $7m in bushfire damage claims made in Coffs

MORE than 22,000 residents and businesses in the Cowper electorate have made claims for government assistance, totalling almost $40m, since devastating bushfires tore through the region in November.

In Coffs Harbour alone, the government has received a total of 6,443 disaster recovery claims from individuals so far totalling $7,129,800.

Eight claims for primary producer recovery grants were also made, totalling $505,000, and Coffs Harbour City Council received $1,300,000.

In Bellingen, three primary producer applications are under review and Bellingen Shire Council received $1,225,000, however the LGA was not eligible for individual disaster recovery claims.

In Nambucca, individuals filed 2,386 claims totalling $2,683,800, while primary producers filed 43 claims totalling $2,467,052. Nambucca Valley Council received $1,416,667.

Member for Cowper Pat Conaghan this week acknowledged that the recovery still continues, and applications for grants can still be made.

"While two-three months have passed since the bushfires went out, I know our community still has a long road ahead to recover from this," he said.

"Impacts on some businesses have now been exacerbated as well due to the coronavirus pandemic and it saddens me to see some sole traders, industries and employees really struggling."

Mr Conaghan has now encouraged residents to make a submission to the Bushfires Royal Commission.

The Royal Commission was established in February and will examine how the nation coordinates, prepares for, responds to, and recovers from disasters as well as improving resilience and adapting to changing climatic conditions.

The Royal Commission held its first online hearing On Thursday, led by Commission Chair Mark Binskin.

Residents can make a submission online here.

A submission can also be made over the phone by calling 1800 909 826.

Submissions close on April 28.