Deputy Premier and NSW Nationals Leader John Barilaro will be the Minister responsible for disaster recovery, leading recovery efforts following the recent bushfires across NSW.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the unprecedented scale of the 2019/20 bushfire season required additional arrangements to be put in place to ensure impacted communities recover and rebuild as quickly as possible.
“Our emergency services personnel and volunteers have been outstanding in dealing with the bushfire emergency to date but the scale of these bushfires has never been seen before and the recovery process will be unprecedented,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“Our Government focus is to get the clean-up underway, ensure residents and businesses receive the support they need and to rebuild the infrastructure destroyed or damaged.”
Mr Barilaro said these bushfires have had a devastating impact on families, communities and a number of industries across NSW.
“The people of regional NSW are hurting. The drought is unprecedented and now these fires have devastated communities across the state,” Mr Barilaro said.
“From apple orchards in Bilpin, timber mills in northern and southern NSW, through to tourism operators in the Blue Mountains, Snowy Mountains and the north and south coasts, the impact has spread far and wide.
“Our priority is to support those families, communities and businesses affected, to make sure they have everything they need to recover, rebuild and get back on their feet.”
It comes after a $1 billion rebuilding fund for bushfire-affected communities was announced.
The additional funding 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,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“The bushfire season is far from over but we know how important it is for communities to start the recovery process where possible.
The $1 billion fund will ensure recovery work could commence without delay and will also have a secondary benefit of stimulating local economies hit hard by bushfires.
This announcement is on top of the NSW Government’s disaster assistance funding for this bushfire season of up to $231 million already committed.