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Councillors vote to allocate federal funds at Extraordinary Meeting

31 January, 2020Posted in: Events
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Wingecarribee Shire Councillors have voted to allocate one million dollars in bush fire relief funds across the Shire’s northern and southern fire affected villages following Wednesday evening’s Extraordinary Meeting of Council.

The Extraordinary Meeting was called to decide where the Federal Government’s $1 million in bush fire relief funds should be distributed and follows specially convened community meetings in Hill Top and Bundanoon.

Wingecarribeee Shire Mayor Duncan Gair thanked the Federal Government for the financial assistance.

“These projects were nominated by residents in both our northern and southern villages directly impacted by these fires as needing the greatest attention,” he said.

“We know that these monies are thinly spread and a lot more is needed to help get everyone back on their feet but we’re also aware that every dollar is appreciated.”

Areas where monies will be spent include tree removal, waste disposal assistance, community park improvements, a tourism recovery program and a memorial for Rural Fire Service volunteers Geoffrey Keaton and Andrew O’Dwyer who died protecting properties in Buxton.

Following the allocation of Federal funds, the Councillors also promised to reconvene on Wednesday 12 February to consider providing additional Development Application financial assistance options for residents looking to rebuild homes that have been destroyed in the recent fires.

“At this point in time we’ve yet to receive any Development Applications from residents wanting to start rebuilding,” the Mayor said.  “However when they do, we want this process to be as simple as possible.”

“With this in mind I’m calling on our State leaders to also offer financial support so we can pass this on to our bush fire affected residents.”

“In the interim, residents who are insured should also approach their insurance providers for financial assistance.”

Mayor Gair said the fires had wrought unprecedented damage across the Shire.

“We know that at times the recovery may be difficult and the rebuilding process complex to navigate,” he said.  “As a Council we’ll do our utmost to streamline any unexpected issues should they unfold.”

“When applications arrive we’ll have staff ready to process them and provide assistance and advice.”

“We also appreciate the frustration that some residents are experiencing when dealing with different Local, State and Federal Government agencies.”

“It’s now more important than ever that as Councillors we work together to ensure all of our residents impacted by these fires receive the help and cooperation they so desperately need.”

For more information on Council-related bush fire assistance services phone Council’s dedicated Bush Fire Recovery hotline on 1800 316 500.

The full resolution of Council and subsequent allocation of bush fire relief funding is as follows:

  1. THAT Council acknowledge the allocation of $1 million to Wingecarribee Shire Council through the Commonwealth Government Disaster Recovery Grant for bushfire impacted communities. 
  2. THAT Council acknowledge the requirement of the grant funding to develop a program of works within three (3) months (i.e. no later 9 April 2020) and report to the Office of Local Government on how the funding was spent within 12 months (i.e. no later 9 January 2021). 
  3. THAT Council allocate the $1 million Commonwealth Government Disaster Recovery Grant for bushfire impacted councils for the following projects and amounts specified below: 
a. Waste disposal at Bargo Waste Management Centre $50,000
b. Tourism Recovery Program $75,000
c. Balmoral Park, Balmoral $100,000
d. Casburn Park, Wingello $50,000
e. Tree Removal at Balmoral, Wingello, Exeter, Wombeyan Caves Road and Manchester Square $225,000
f. Glow Worm Glen $25,000
g. Mountain Bike Tracks at Wingello and Bundanoon $25,000
h. Roadside Entrance into Bundanoon $25,000
i. Contribution to Honour Fallen RFS Firefighters $15,000
j. Rate relief for properties with homes completely destroyed $300,000
k. Flora and Fauna $100,000
l. Contingency $10,000

 

  1. Following consultation with other NSW councils and the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment a detailed report be brought back to Council at its meeting on 12 February 2020 outlining relief options for development application and associated fees for residents who have lost their dwelling houses in the 2019/20 bushfire locations.