This week, patient lobbying by local affected families and sustained advocacy by Kempsey Shire Council has born results, with Kempsey receiving 6 of the first 10 accommodation ‘pods’ being rolled out to bushfire affected communities across the state.
More than 100 temporary accommodation pods are being rolled out thanks to a partnership between the NSW Government and Andrew and Nicola Forrest’s Minderoo Foundation.
The 7.2m x 2.4m units are fully self-contained and allow people to stay on their land while they rebuild. They come equipped with a 2,300 litre water tank and can operate on the included generator or use mains connection. Internally they have a toilet, shower and small open kitchen with a two-burner stove.
Kempsey has the first pods being delivered in the North of the state. The first residents had their pod installed on Friday with more to be installed this week.
“This is a huge step forward for some of those in our community who were hardest hit by the bushfires,” said Kempsey Shire Mayor Liz Campbell.
“These pods are a great resource for those people who have rural properties, who need to care for livestock. Some of those have been living with neighbours, some have been travelling long distances each day to work their properties.”
“Now they can stay on their land, they can be with their animals, they can be on their farm and they can rebuild.”
The Richardson family in Hickey’s Creek were the first Kempsey family to receive a pod after they have spent five months living with their neighbours since a bushfire destroyed their home.
“It’s got everything we are going to need, we can actually move home,” Ms Richardson said.
The accommodation pods are being rolled out as part of a targeted program by the NSW Government, following advocacy by Council as well as local recovery staff, charities and Service NSW to identify candidates to ensure the pods go to those most in need.
The pods will be provided for up to two years, and will then be kept by the Government to be used in future emergencies.