New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Treasurer Dominic Perrottet have announced $1 billion over the next two years to rebuild bushfire impacted communities.
According to a Building Impact Assessment released by the NSW Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS), as at 10 January 2020, 2,097 homes have been destroyed and 830 homes have been damaged in NSW by the 2019/20 bushfires. In an outstanding effort by the RFS and other agencies, 12,625 homes have been saved.
Across the state, 216 facilities including buildings such as schools and business have been destroyed, 168 have been damaged, and 1,265 have been saved.
Moreover, 4,287 sheds and other outbuildings have been destroyed, 1,568 have been damaged, and 10,829 have been saved.
The additional funding announced by the NSW Government will prioritise the repair and rebuilding of vital infrastructure, such as roads, rail lines, bridges, schools, health facilities and communications facilities, which have been damaged or destroyed by bushfires.
“This money will provide an immediate source of funding to ensure key infrastructure is restored so that communities can get back on their feet as soon as possible,” said Ms Berejiklian on Thursday.
“The bushfire season is far from over, but we know how important it is for communities to start the recovery process where possible.”
According to an update by the NSW RFS, as at 8:30pm 12 January 2020, there were 111 bush and grass fires burning across NSW, all at the Advice alter level, with 40 not yet contained. While rain fell across parts of the state on Sunday, many of these fires will still take some time to fully contain.
Mr Perrottet said the $1 billion fund would ensure recovery work could commence without delay and will also have a secondary benefit of stimulating local economies hit hard by bushfires.
“This money will help fast track the recovery process and will also provide an important economic boost to communities doing it tough.”
“Nobody can undo what is done, but what we can do is ensure these communities have every chance and opportunity to get back to business and start rebuilding as soon as possible,” Mr Perrottet stated.
“With fires impacting communities all across the state, we know the task is enormous but the NSW Government will do whatever it takes to help repair the damage and rebuild communities.”
This announcement is on top of the NSW Government’s disaster assistance funding for this bushfire season of up to $231 million already committed.
- $166 million to fight fires on top of the record 2019/20 RFS Budget.
- $25 million to facilitate the clean-up of both insured and uninsured homes damaged or destroyed by the fires.
- $23 million for grants of up to $15,000 for primary producers and small businesses to assist with clean-up and the replacement of infrastructure.
- $6 million for additional mental health services for individuals, community groups and emergency services personnel.
- $11 million to fund the Economic Recovery and Community Resilience Grants Program.
Ms Berejiklian said following initial discussions with the Federal Government, it has been confirmed that the Federal Government contribution will focus on direct payments to individuals, small business and local councils.
“The NSW Government’s focus will be to rebuild and where appropriate, improve the infrastructure,” Ms Berejiklian commented.