The announcement of additional bushfire assistance to support the revival of the local bushfire hit economy has been strongly welcomed by Federal Member for Wright, Scott Buchholz and Mayor, Greg Christensen.
Mr Buchholz said here in the Scenic Rim, we have farmers, businesses and households battling to recover from the 2019 bushfires and the announcement of a Regional Bushfire Recovery and Development Program was great news.
“Despite the Coronavirus pandemic, we’ve still got our focus on those communities that were already doing it tough due to drought and fire.
“For bushfire hit communities, the recovery process looks different, depending on who you’re speaking to and where they are from. There are residents and business owners, particularly with agricultural interests, suffering direct damage to property, land, and livestock.
“And then there are owners of and workers in the tourism and hospitality industry, great local cafes, restaurants, accommodation, and tourism sites throughout the Scenic Rim, that support our tourism-economy.
“We need to work together to best understand how we can support the economy, to support these people to get back on their feet. The coronavirus pandemic is certainly adding another layer of complexity,” Mr Buchholz said.
Scenic Rim Mayor, Greg Christensen welcomed the announcement and acknowledged the work of the Australian Government in supporting bushfire recovery.
“I would like to thank our Federal Member Scott Buchholz for his engagement and advocacy to support this extended program for our bushfire impacted communities.
“Council will begin the process of accessing and reviewing the criteria to pursue appropriate relevant projects that could not be accommodated in previous funding.
“This program also offers more direct funding with individual property owners beyond what is already available under the community recovery bushfire funding. Council will assist in promoting opportunities for landholders and the wider community,” Cr Christensen said.
While many residents and businesses may not have been directly impacted by the fires, they now face the tough economic conditions that have resulted from drought, fire, and COVID-19.
“Last week I convened a meeting of regional leaders, including those from local business, community and government – to join me in a tele-visit by Recovery Coordinator, Andrew Colvin.
“This was an opportunity to inform the National Bushfire Recovery Agency of the ongoing recovery effort locally, to provide feedback on the disaster recovery process and give insight to the opportunities and challenges before us, here in the Scenic Rim,” said Mr Buchholz.
Following the announcement of further support for bushfire communities, Mr Buchholz said it was important state and local authorities worked with the community, as well as the National Bushfire Recovery Agency to have strong local input on projects.
Mr Buchholz said the program is wide-ranging and urged Scenic Rim locals to provide ideas on bushfire recovery projects through his office.
“Projects could include initiatives that promote economic activity and support community wellbeing, projects can also focus on the landscape and water, replacing produce and stock, or building future resilience.
While there is no set amount for each region, all bushfire affected communities across the country will share in the $448.5 million fund with every project considered on its economic and community recovery merit.
“I encourage any local resident or community groups to contact my office with their ideas on projects to assist in recovery for the Scenic Rim and look forward to hearing from our community on what they think we can do to support our community,” Mr Buchholz said
“As the Federal MP, I’ll be working with our community and the local and state government representatives over the next few weeks to get their feedback on those local projects which they consider priorities for the Scenic Rim community”.
“I am encouraged by this funding package and look forward to working toward getting projects suggested by the community off the ground,” Mr Buchholz said.
To nominate projects or for further information about the program, Scott Buchholz office can be contacted by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr Buchholz | Scott O’Connell – 0413 424 384
The $448.5 million Regional Bushfire Recovery and Development Program is being provided as part of a broader $650 million package, which also includes:
- $15 million to assist the forestry industry with the increased costs of transporting burned salvaged logs over longer distances to surviving timber mills or storage sites in bushfire affected areas in Victoria and New South Wales.
- $13.5 million for community wellbeing and participation, backing Primary Health Networks with additional funding to provide critical, localised support for bushfire affected individuals to ensure their emotional and mental wellbeing.
- $149.7 million for bushfire recovery related to species and landscapes such as habitat regeneration, waterway and catchment restoration including erosion control, weed and pest management.
- $27.1 million for strengthening telecommunications capabilities before the next bushfire season including the deployment of approximately 2000 satellite phones to rural fire depots and evacuation centres.