Thursday, 15 October 2020
Media release

Joint media release with The Hon. Paul Toole - $250 million to boost recovery in NSW bushfire affected communities

Businesses and communities in bushfire impacted regions have access to a new fund for local infrastructure and initiatives that will drive economic and social recovery, strengthen morale and help communities get back on their feet through the $250 million Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Fund, co-funded by the NSW and Australian governments.

Australian Minister for Emergency Management, David Littleproud today encouraged councils, business chambers, joint groups, businesses, charities and local Aboriginal Land Councils to bring forward their recovery ideas when applications open on 27 October 2020.

“Bushfire recovery looks different in each community, and no one is better placed to identify local priorities than local people, which is why we said it had to be a locally led recovery not a Canberra led one,” Minister Littleproud said.

“Our national approach to Local Economic Recovery funding is about assisting communities to lead their own recovery, with governments and local partners funding projects that will make a real difference locally.

“I encourage fire affected communities in New South Wales to get together and consider what their community needs to boost their economy, their wellbeing and their recovery, and I look forward to seeing what people come up with and the benefits that will flow long-term.”

Acting Deputy Premier Paul Toole said funding will be available for projects to help industries and communities recover by creating jobs, increasing preparedness for future natural disasters and enhancing the natural environment.

“The significant funds injected through this program will support the needs of families and businesses in severely affected communities to bounce back after the 19/20 bushfires tore through neighbourhoods and brought business to a grinding halt,” Mr Toole said.

“Many are getting ready to rebuild their lives and we are backing projects designed to put people in back in work, retain existing jobs and reinvigorate communities with a focus on improvements to essential or community infrastructure as well as industry development.

“Tourism is a key industry and the natural environment a drawcard, so we are also looking to restore nature, create attractions as well as promote them, and to put people at ease with investment in the research and infrastructure to improve resilience to future bushfires.”

Grants of between $200,000 and $20 million will be available for projects such as:

  • Local community and cultural infrastructure
  • Tourism campaigns (including digital product development) and regional events
  • Workforce adaptation and work ready training programs
  • Community wellbeing and mental health programs
  • Tourism infrastructure including walking and mountain bike trails
  • Neighbourhood safer places.

Alongside this open call for project ideas, shovel-ready projects are being identified in bushfire affected areas, so they can be considered and fast tracked to provide community and economic benefit as quickly as possible. Information about these projects will be released in coming weeks.

Overall, more than $500 million joint funding from the Australian and New South Wales Governments will be provided to support local economic, community and industry recovery projects in bushfire affected communities.  

Applications open on 27 October 2020. For more information, including guidelines, visit https://www.nsw.gov.au/blerfund

Funding for smaller projects:

The Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Fund joins the recently announced Bushfire Community Recovery and Resilience Fund, which is for smaller projects and is open until the 10 November 2020.

Further support for NSW communities affected by the 19/20 bushfires includes:

  • Approximately $3.5 billion has been committed to bushfire recovery efforts in NSW  - $2.3 billion from the NSW Government and $1.2 billion from the Commonwealth
  • More than 8,000 people were assisted with emergency accommodation
  • More than 3,600 properties have been cleared through the joint NSW and Commonwealth funded clean-up program
  • More than $200 million has been distributed to small businesses
  • Over $100 million has been awarded in primary producer grants
  • 188 temporary accommodation pods are on the ground across NSW, allowing people to stay on their land while they rebuild
  • 5,200 kilometres of replacement fencing committed
  • $8.5 million dedicated to funding local Recovery Support Services
  • 22 Community Recovery Officers have been funded and are working with councils on recovery across NSW.
  • 35 bushfire mental health clinicians have been deployed
  • the Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Fund joins the recently announced Bushfire Community Recovery and Resilience Fund, which is for smaller projects and is open until the 10 November.