Disaster assistance has been made available for Armidale, Inverell, Kyogle and Tenterfield communities affected by the bushfires that commenced from 11 February 2019 onwards.
Assistance is being provided through the jointly funded Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA).
Assistant Minister for Home Affairs Senator the Hon. Linda Reynolds, who has responsibility for Commonwealth disaster assistance, said a range of assistance is now available to help people who have been affected by the bushfires as well as funding for operational response activities.
“The fires were fuelled by strong winds and burnt through thousands of hectares of land, threatening life and causing major disruptions to nearby communities,” Assistant Minister Reynolds said.
“The speed at which these fires moved reinforces the need for communities to continue to be well prepared and have a plan, especially as this very dangerous bushfire season continues.
“The Commonwealth and NSW governments are working closely together to provide immediate relief and support the recovery of affected communities.”
NSW Minister for Emergency Services Troy Grant said a large number of people have had to be evacuated, and significant firefighting operations are continuing in response to each of the bushfires.
“Our firies have again done a tremendous job keeping these communities safe. They acted swiftly and continue to update local residents about the ongoing emergency response,” Minister Grant said.
“The NSW Rural Fire Service have battled blazes during incredibly challenging weather conditions, and deployed hundreds of firefighters, appliances and aircraft to combat the fires, and I know everyone is incredibly grateful for those efforts.
“Our thoughts too are with the families and businesses who’ve been evacuated, some of whom have lost properties too. It’s a devastating experience, and our hope is that this assistance will ease some of the burden you’re now facing on the road to recovery.”
Assistance measures available under the DRFA may include:
- help for eligible people whose homes or belongings have been damaged;
- support for affected local councils to help with the costs of cleaning up and restoring damaged essential public assets;
- concessional interest rate loans for small businesses, primary producers and non-profit organisations;
- freight subsidies for primary producers; and,
- grants to eligible non-profit organisations.
For information on personal hardship and distress assistance, contact the Disaster Welfare Assistance Line on 1800 018 444. To apply for a concessional loan, grant or freight subsidy, contact the NSW Rural Assistance Authority on 1800 678 593 or visit www.raa.nsw.gov.au.
Further information on disaster assistance is available on the Australian Government’s Disaster Assist website at disasterassist.gov.au and the NSW emergency information and response website at emergency.nsw.gov.au.