Nambucca Valley Council has received a critical boost to help in the bushfire recovery thanks to Stage Two of the Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Fund, co-funded by the Australian and NSW governments.
Federal Member for Cowper Pat Conaghan and State Member for Oxley Melinda Pavey said more than $5 million was allocated to five projects that will deliver important infrastructure improvements and community outcomes.
Ms Pavey said some of the projects funded include:
Federal Member for Cowper Pat Conaghan said the $2.45 million for the Nambucca River Foreshore Walk and Cultural Way will showcase the importance of the Nambucca River (Nymbaga Binderay) by completing the foreshore walk from the Visitor Information Centre to the V-Wall.
“Pleasingly, Nambucca Valley Council is proposing to construct this foreshore walk using its day labour – a crew of six staff members will work on this project during the construction phase,” Mr Conaghan said.
“This community was significantly impacted by the 2019-2020 bushfires and the walk will contribute to public health and improve an iconic tourist destination.
“It will also promote awareness of the rich cultural, historical and environmental aspects of the river through signage and art.
“I am also pleased to see a number of significant projects allocated to the council area under the Bushfire Local Economic Recovery program.”
Mrs Pavey said the Nambucca River Foreshore Walk project means the replacement of the failed section of boardwalk between the Visitor Information Centre and Bellwood Park.
“We also know how important community halls are for emergencies and this funding will ensure upgrades to Burrapine Hall, Argents Hill Hall, Taylors Arm Hall, South Arm Hall, Utungun Hall and Eungai Hall,” Mrs Pavey said.
“The telecommunications tower will improve mobile reception in the remote areas of the Valley, and Bowraville will reap rewards with the Bowraville Innovative Social Enterprise Precinct and Theatre upgrade.
“These projects are just one part of the complete recovery journey of the region and will help us to continue repairing the social and economic fabric of our communities.”
Nambucca Valley Mayor Rhonda Hoban OAM said the Council was very pleased to have received approval for a range of funding applications which will support the social and economic recovery of the area following the Kian Road bushfire natural disaster on 8 November 2019.
“The funding will see much needed upgrades to our network of rural halls which acted as community refuges and hubs through the disaster and the following recovery,” Ms Hoban said.
“I’m also very pleased with the funding provided for dressing rooms and disability access at the Bowraville Theatre, the lack of which has been a real problem at the Theatre for many years.
“A key issue during the disaster and its aftermath was the lack of mobile phone reception in the South Arm and Yarranbella localities. The grant of $971,250 for a telecommunications tower in this locality will significantly increase mobile coverage for our rural residents and visitors. There isn’t funding available to overcome every blackspot, but this is an excellent start.
“From a tourism perspective I couldn’t be happier than with the announcement of $2.45 million for the Nambucca River foreshore walk and cultural way. This is an iconic experience for visitors and residents at Nambucca Heads and will serve our local economy well.”
Deputy Premier and Minister for Disaster Recovery John Barilaro said the diverse nature of the Stage Two Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Fund projects was driven by the specific recovery needs of each community and guided by locally led applications.
“One year has passed since properties were damaged or destroyed by the Black Summer bushfires and we are continuing to deliver the support that the Nambucca Valley needs to keep moving forward in recovery,” Mr Barilaro said.
“People are rebuilding their lives and we are backing projects that will provide improved local amenities, and increase preparedness to future bushfires.”
Mr Barilaro said more than 650 applications were received from 47 LGAs impacted by the 2019-20 Black Summer bushfires in NSW, requesting a total of $1.6 billion – more than six times the original funding available.
“I understand that preparing and submitting applications takes a lot of time and energy and with such an oversubscription of applications and high demand for funding, it means there will be many disappointed applicants,” Mr Barilaro said.
“I am pleased that unsuccessful applicants will have the chance to consider submitting their project to the Australian Government’s $280 million Black Summer Bushfire Recovery Grants that is expected to open in early July 2021.”
The Department of Regional NSW led the merit-based assessment of all 652 applications against the published guidelines and assessment criteria. The robust, fair and transparent process was overseen by independent probity advisors from both the Australian and NSW governments.
Applications were assessed and recommended by the Department of Regional NSW and subsequently reviewed and endorsed by the National Recovery and Resilience Agency, with final funding decisions approved by the NSW Government.
The Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Package is one part of the $4.5 billion overarching bushfire support program co-funded by the Australian and NSW Governments for bushfire recovery, response and preparedness in NSW.
For further information, visit https://www.nsw.gov.au/blerfund