ADVICE

Bushfire recovery package to drive local solutions in Macleay, Nambucca and Bellinger valleys

Federal Member for Cowper, Pat Conaghan (right), and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack during a visit to Willawarrin in November
Federal Member for Cowper, Pat Conaghan (right), and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack during a visit to Willawarrin in November

LOCAL Federal MP Pat Conaghan has conceded the district faces a long road of recovering after the black summer bushfires.

But he's confident a funding boost of nearly half a billion dollars will go some way to boosting local comeback efforts in locations like the Macleay, Nambucca and Bellinger valleys.

These areas were hard hit by the Carrai East, Kian Rd, and Bees Nest fires respectively - including a horrendously difficult day on November 8.

The Kian Rd fire in the west of the Nambucca Valley

The Kian Rd fire in the west of the Nambucca Valley

The Commonwealth Government this week announced a massive $448.5 million package to create local economic recovery plans - and fund the projects which stem from these.

"During the devastating 2019-20 bushfire season, the economic impact to the agriculture, tourism and forestry industries in Cowper was more than $56 million," Mr Conaghan said.

"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 roll-out support as quickly as possible.

The fire tore through properties west of Kempsey. Photo: Callum McGregor

The fire tore through properties west of Kempsey. Photo: Callum McGregor

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

"I thank Minister for Emergency Management, David Littleproud, for the funding and the National Bushfire Recovery Agency for coordinating these plans."

The National Bushfire Recovery Agency was established in January 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 they needed to recover.

Kian Rd fire

Kian Rd fire

This agency has supported the State and Territory governments and has coordinated 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 NSW and Victoria.

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

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.

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This story Coming back from the days of dread first appeared on The Macleay Argus.