Bega Valley Shire Council has welcomed the announcement of more than $10.5 million of direct funding for projects in the Bega Valley and a further $26 million for partnership projects that will benefit the Bega Valley community, through the Australian Government’s Black Summer Bushfire Recovery Grants Program.
Mayor Russell Fitzpatrick said the funding would provide a much-needed boost to the community’s ongoing recovery journey in the Bega Valley as well as other areas.
“Two years on from the Black Summer bushfires there is still much to be done to help our communities recover and build more long-term strength and resilience,” Cr Fitzpatrick said.
“This funding will go a long way to addressing social and economic recovery and resilience across the shire, as well as improving the sustainability of key community infrastructure.”
Council was successful in securing funding for three projects, one of which is a partnership with the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal, totalling more than $2.7 million. The remainder of the funding across the shire has been awarded to community groups and organisations.
“We haven’t received the funding deeds with all the details yet, but the amount of funding announced is recognition of the genuine need that still exists in our shire,” Cr Fitzpatrick said.
“It’s great to see projects such as the Cobargo Community Energy Project, enhancement of evacuation facilities for Bermagui Surf Life Saving Club, Twofold Aboriginal Corporation’s Cultural and Skills Training Centre and many more being recognised and funded to enable their important work to continue or progress.
“The real strength of the program is the community-led partnerships it supports among community groups, not-for-profit organisations and local government—no-one knows the needs of their community better than local people.
“Unfortunately, there were a number of projects that weren’t successful. I know how much time and effort goes into every grant application, particularly as our communities are on their own recovery journey and I’d like to thank everyone who invested their time and energy to support the community. Council is committed to working with the community to continue our recovery journey.”
The successful Council projects, which will support ongoing recovery and resilience needs are:
- Water Catchment and Sanitation Project – a partnership with Council, Pambula Rotary, Social Justice Advocates and Connecting Communities Australia that will enable water and sanitation pods to be built for another 14 families who lost their homes in the Black Summer bushfires and are living on their land in temporary accommodation with only very basic water and sanitation systems in place.
- Investing in Rural Community Futures across the Bega Valley: Resilience, Connection and Place – a partnership between the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal, Council and the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation aimed at building and supporting the capacity of not-for-profits in the shire to maximise the impact of their work as they actively support social recovery following the Black Summer bushfires.
- Additional, dedicated resources within Council to support recovery through:
- providing tailored, personal support to people who lost their homes in the Black Summer bushfires to work through the rebuilding process
- additional planning staff, including a development hub officer, a planner and an environmental health and building officer to help address the significant increase in development applications
- tailored information and support for businesses focused on providing up-to-date information to interpret eligibility criteria, reporting obligations for businesses and support for how to apply for grants
- embedding resilience approaches into Council policies and practices when engaging with the community to ensure an ongoing focus on resilience beyond our Local Recovery Action Plan.
The full list projects funded through the $390 million Black Summer Bushfire Recovery Grants is available on the Australian Government’s National Recovery and resilience Agency website at https://recovery.gov.au/black-summer-grants
The Australian Government’s Business Grants Hub will notify all applicants of the outcome of their proposal and then work with successful applicants to finalise grant agreements to enable projects to commence. This is expected to occur over the next few weeks.