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Pat Conaghan MP

Community recovery package for farmers, small businesses and not-for-profits hit by bushfires

Federal Member for Cowper Pat Conaghan has welcomed a multi-million dollar package to help the North Coast, Mid North Coast and Northern Tablelands recover from the spring bush fires.

The Federal and State Governments have agreed to fund a series of measures to support farmers, small businesses, not for profit organisations, firefighters and the wider community.

Mr Conaghan visited Willawarrin this morning with Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack to share the news with locals.

“The $48.25 million package would be made up of two key components, an $18.25 million for Community Recovery Fund, along with recovery grants of up to $15,000 for farmers and small businesses,” he said.

“This is a good further step to help farmers, small businesses and not-for-profit community groups start the road to recovery.

“I advocated strongly for further assistance for my electorate of Cowper as I kept hearing while visiting evacuation centres and rural fire service meetings that people needed more help.

“The grants of up to $15,000 for farmers will help with the basics like starting to rebuild fences while landholders make the necessary applications through their own insurers.”

Minister for Natural Disaster and Emergency Management David Littleproud said at the press conference held at the Rural Fire Service headquarters in Sydney the $15,000 grants would help farmers and small businesses get back to doing what they do best.

“Getting back to business is one of the best ways to bounce back,” Minister Littleproud said.

“This will make sure businesses can open and people are back to work sooner.

“When money flows around a community it can help to speed up the whole recovery.

“An $18.25 million Community Recovery Fund has also been set up for targeted community project grants and mental health support.

“The mental toll on the community, volunteers and emergency service staff can linger long after the fires and they will need ongoing support.

“In addition the targeted grants will be available for projects that help with the recovery and improve disaster resilience.”

This community recovery package will be provided through the joint Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements. It is in addition to the Federal Government’s Disaster Recovery Payment and Disaster Recovery Allowance. The payment provides people severely affected by bushfire with a one-off-lump sum payment of $1,000 and $400 for each eligible child under the age of 16. The allowance provides employees and small businesses impacted by bushfire with up to 13 weeks income support.

The new community recovery package announced today is being administered by the NSW Rural Assistance Authority. To apply for a recovery grant, primary producers and small businesses should contact the NSW RAA on 1800 678 593 or visit raa.nsw.gov.au

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