Towns, farmers and not-for-profit groups in areas worst-hit by bushfire have received a new assistance package worth $48.25 million.

Federal Nationals Member for Cowper Pat Conaghan and NSW Nationals Member for Port Macquarie Leslie Williams have welcomed the deal as it will help communities and businesses get back on their feet after the recent bushfires.

“This is a good further step to help farmers, small businesses and not-for-profit community groups start the road to recovery,” Mr Conaghan said.

“I advocated strongly for further assistance as some areas here on the North and Mid North Coast are just devastated and people I have been meeting with at evacuation centres say they don’t know where to start to begin rebuilding.

“The new $48.25 million package is made up of two key components, a $18.25 million Community Recovery Fund for targeted community project grants that help with recovery and mental health support, plus a grants package of up to $15,000 for farmers and small businesses.”

“We understand parts of our community have been hit hard by the bushfires and we will continue to support you on your journey of recovery.”

Pat Conaghan

The $48.25 million package is for communities in the North Coast, Mid North Coast and Northern Tablelands.

Member for Port Macquarie Leslie Williams said the impact to local communities from the bushfires will continue to be felt for many months yet.

“Our community is shrouded in smoke and is still emotionally raw from the bushfires,” Mrs Williams said.

“However we also have a renewed sense of togetherness as we have each experienced or witnessed amazing acts of kindness about town by residents and businesses giving donations to our Rural Fire Service volunteers or to those who have lost homes and property.

“However the extent of the damage to our farming and regional business sector is yet to be fully quantified as bushfires continue to burn.”

“We know the emotional impact from the fires will continue to be felt in the months and years ahead, which is why we have committed $4.05 million in this package to mental health services.”

Leslie Williams

This community recovery package will be provided through the joint Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements. It is being administered by the NSW Rural Assistance Authority.

To apply for a recovery grant, primary producers and small businesses should contact the NSW RAA on 1800 678 593 or visit their website.

This assistance is in addition to the Federal Government’s Disaster Recovery Payment and Disaster Recovery Allowance. The payment provides people severely affected by bushfire with a one-off-lump sum payment of $1,000 and $400 for each eligible child under the age of 16. The allowance provides employees and small businesses impacted by bushfire with up to 13 weeks income support.

To claim the Disaster Recovery Allowance contact the Australian Government Emergency Information Line on 180 22 66. For the Disaster Recovery Payment, phone the New South Wales Disaster Welfare Assistance Line on 1800 018 444.