More than 22,000 residents and businesses in Cowper have been assisted by the Federal Government since November last year when devastating bushfires tore through the region.

Federal Nationals Member for Cowper Pat Conaghan welcomed the assistance totalling about $39 million and said residents can now make a submission to the Bushfires Royal Commission.

“While a few months have passed since the bushfires went out, I know our community still has a long road ahead to recover from this,” he said.

“Impacts on some businesses have now been exacerbated as well due to the coronavirus pandemic and it saddens me to see some sole traders, industries and employees really struggling.

“Our support for 22,204 residents, more than 130 farmers and hundreds of businesses has helped our community start to recover from the bushfires and I encourage anyone who wants to share their opinion on the natural disaster arrangements and response that occurred this summer to do so by the 28 April 2020.”

Federal Government assistance provided to date includes:

Disaster Recovery Allowance (DRA) short-term income support payments and small business recovery grants have been provided to residents in Cowper, however the amounts are available only by state. A total of 2,721 claims for the DRA in NSW have been granted totalling $8,787,582 and 12,213 small business recovery grants have been awarded in NSW totalling $136,710,000.

Residents and businesses that were severely impacted by bushfire and have not as yet applied for assistance can still do so.

To apply for the Disaster Recovery Payment visit https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/services/centrelink/nsw-bushfires-september-2019-australian-government-disaster-recovery-payment or call 180 22 66.

To apply for a primary producer’s recovery grant visit www.raa.nsw.gov.au or call 1800 678 593.

To apply for a business recovery grant visit www.service.nsw.gov.au/transaction/apply-small-business-bushfire-support-grant or call 13 77 88.

The Royal Commission into National Disaster Arrangements was established on February 20, 2020 by the Australian Government. It will examine how the nation coordinates, prepares for, responds to, and recovers from disasters as well as improving resilience and adapting to changing climatic conditions.

People can make a submission online at https://naturaldisaster.royalcommission.gov.au/submissions or they can make a verbal submission over the phone by calling 1800 909 826. Submissions close on April 28, 2020.