Bushfire Recovery News and Updates

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Our bushfire recovery page was created to support those in the Orara Valley, and other communities within our local government area, as they recover from the November 2019 bushfires.


There is a range of assistance available for local households, businesses, industries and landholders.

Coffs Harbour City Council is working in collaboration with the emergency services, State and Federal government agencies, charities and others to deliver this assistance.

Service NSW Bushfire Customer Care Service

For people impacted by bushfire, the NSW Bushfire Customer Care Service will help you navigate the support and financial assistance that's available across all levels of government

Our bushfire recovery page was created to support those in the Orara Valley, and other communities within our local government area, as they recover from the November 2019 bushfires.


There is a range of assistance available for local households, businesses, industries and landholders.

Coffs Harbour City Council is working in collaboration with the emergency services, State and Federal government agencies, charities and others to deliver this assistance.

Service NSW Bushfire Customer Care Service

For people impacted by bushfire, the NSW Bushfire Customer Care Service will help you navigate the support and financial assistance that's available across all levels of government.

Service NSW provides one-on-one support for people and businesses.

They can help with:

  • Accommodation advice
  • Relevant charitable services
  • Mental health and wellbeing services
  • Support for businesses
  • Clean-up services
  • Financial assistance
  • Grants and rebates
  • Insurance and legal support
  • Replacing lost ID
  • Volunteer RFS and SES payments.

Call 13 77 88 or visit the Service NSW website to register for a callback.

Community Consultation

This page will be used periodically for community consultation to learn what ideas our community may have for recovery and to find ways to improve disaster management in future events.

As of April 2020, Council has undertaken a series of community consultations with Orara Valley
residents and the broader community to inform the development of the proposed Program of Works for recovery including:

  • Community meetings at Nana Glen Community Hall on 28 January 2020 and 11 March 2020
  • A ‘Have Your Say’ survey on this page which received 42 responses
  • Telephone and in-person interviews with Nana Glen residents and Orara Valley businesses

Feedback has also been consolidated by the Acting Community Recovery Officer and from the community-led Orara Valley Bushfire Recovery Working Group

Additionally, Council has consulted internally and with the NSW Rural Fire Service.

'Sign Up' on this page to stay informed on further opportunities for consultation as well as community recovery updates.

Category Financial assistance   Show all

  • Anglicare North Coast - Help for those in need

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    20 Jul 2020
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    Are you doing it tough at the moment?

    In May 2020 Department of Social Services made funds available for Anglicare North Coast to help members of the community that were directly impacted by the fires of 2019.

    Anglicare may be able to assist with:

    • Food vouchers
    • Rates, electricity and other household bills
    • Financial counselling and other forms of financial relief
    • Emergency Bushfire Relief

    Go to or call them on 66434844

    Private and confidential help for those in need.

  • Free Legal Help For Bushfire-Hit Locals

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    07 Jul 2020

    Farmers, small businesses and regional communities recovering from the worst bushfire season in memory are set to benefit from close to $5 million in Commonwealth funding for NSW’s legal assistance services.

    Member for Coffs Harbour Gurmesh Singh said this investment will play an important role in helping our community recover from the devastating bushfire season.

    “The fires not only caused the loss of life, homes, livestock and property, but in their wake, the flames also left many people across our community with difficult legal problems,” Mr Singh said.

    “For anyone on the Coffs Coast facing insurance claims, tenancy issues, financial hardship, social security entitlements and other legal problems caused by the bushfires, this investment will mean they have access to more free legal support than ever before.”

    Deputy Premier and Minister responsible for Disaster Recovery John Barilaro said the funding will boost a range of legal assistance services and programs.

    “Almost $3 million in funding will help individuals navigating legal issues caused by the bushfires and made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Mr Barilaro said.

    “A further $2 million will be invested to provide legal support for small businesses and primary producers. This will allow Legal Aid NSW to launch a new grants program, enabling private lawyers to access grants of aid to deliver free legal services to local businesses impacted by bushfires.”

    Attorney General Mark Speakman said the funding will boost the capacity of Legal Aid, Community Legal Centres and the Aboriginal Legal Service to support individuals in bushfire affected areas across the State.

    The $4.9 million Bushfire Funding Agreement is part of the Australian Government’s $2 billion response to the 2019-20 Bushfire Disaster over two years.

    The Agreement will deliver the following legal assistance supports:

    Individuals

    • Boost Legal Aid’s Disaster Response Legal Service to provide advice and referrals on issues including insurance claims, financial hardship, accommodation and Centrelink entitlements.
    • Additional staff at five generalist Community Legal Centres (CLCs) in bushfire affected communities and three specialist CLCs delivering services to bushfire affected individuals.
    • Increase the capacity of the Aboriginal Legal Service to provide its services to individuals in bushfire affected communities.

    Businesses and primary producers

    • Establish and promote a new grants policy for private practitioners to deliver legal services to small business and primary producers for bushfire related issues.
    • Extend Justice Connect’s pro bono platform to link small business and primary producers with pro bono services.
    • Support the Financial Rights Legal Centre to continue offering its services specialising in areas including consumer credit, banking, debt recovery and insurance to small business and primary producers.
  • National Bushfire Recovery Agency: Commonwealth Bushfire Relief and Recovery Funding Factsheet

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    29 May 2020

    Helping Australians recover from the recent bushfires is a national priority.

    The Australian Government has committed $2 billion to the National Bushfire Recovery Fund (NBRF).

    The fund is allocated to the bushfire recovery programs listed on the FACTSHEET. To help get this money to people fast, the Australian Government have delivered most of these programs through State and Territory Governments and local councils.

    In addition, the Australian Government have enlisted charities to disseminate a portion of the funds as emergency relief; this money is managed separately to public donations.

    One billion dollars from the NBRF has been spent so far. This money has either already been spent or is being reimbursed to State and Territory Governments for help they deliver on behalf of the Australia Government.

    In addition, the Australian Government has also used other existing disaster support funding mechanisms including disaster recovery payments and allowances, to provide an additional $417 million to communities.

    Funding is rolling out over a two-year period. This means people and communities have time to think about their recovery needs, and can seek support at their own pace according to their individual circumstances.

  • Glenreagh HeartStart: Financial Assistance and Gift Vouchers

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    29 May 2020

    If you are in need of financial assistance for something urgent or have incurred bushfire costs and would like to be reimbursed, contact Glenreagh HeartStart.

    HeartStart are working with the Orara Valley Progress Association, who have limited funds available, to assist in meeting your financial needs. As a demonstration of commitment, anyone directly affected by bushfire who contacts HeartStart will be entitled to receive a $100 gift voucher.

    Property Issues

    Fencing materials, earthworks hire, sewerage works, tree felling, power poles, small sheds, etc.

    Personal & Household Items

    Clothing & footwear, vehicle repairs, linen, cooking, heating, refrigeration, etc.

    Living Expenses

    Phone & power bills, rates, insurances, legal fees, etc.


    Contact: Faye Neil Mobile 0439 190 076 Email heartstart@glenreagh.org.au

  • Red Cross Assistance Grants

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    22 May 2020

    The Red Cross is providing a re-establishment grant to help people who lost their primary place of residence in the bushfires to have somewhere safe to live in the medium-to-long term. The re-establishment grant was formerly called the rebuild grant, but it is now also open to people who were renting homes that were destroyed, and people who were living in non-permanent structures such as caravans, or mobile homes that were destroyed in the fires.

    Red Cross encourage you to apply. Please contact Melinda Brooks on 6648 4840 if you would like Red Cross support.

    Applictaion is online at the Red Cross website or phone 1800 733 276. If you have already received a Red Cross emergency grant you won’t need to provide information you have already provided.

  • Red Cross Assistance Grants

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    18 May 2020

    Immediate assistance is available for bushfire-affected people in financial hardship.

    The Primary Residence Repair Grant has been extended to include repairs to critical private water or power infrastructure (i.e. water tanks, generators) or septic tanks.

    The Rebuild Grant is open to home owners whose primary place of residence has been destroyed or rendered permanently uninhabitable. This grant is for owner occupiers facing continued financial hardship, who intend to start the early stages of planning to rebuild their home.

    Applications for grants will remain open until June 30 2020. Please contact the Coffs Harbour Community Recovery Officer on phone 6648 4840 or email melinda.brooks@chcc.nsw.gov.au if you have any questions.

  • Small Business Bushfire Support Grant Extended to Coffs and Bellingen

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    24 Apr 2020

    Today the NSW Government announced that the Small Business Bushfire Support Grant of $10,000 would be expanded to 13 new Local Government Areas (LGAs) including Coffs Harbour. The expansion will be jointly funded by Commonwealth and NSW Governments.

    This grant will now be available to small businesses in Coffs Harbour City Council LGA and Bellingen Shire Council LGA that have experienced a significant decline in revenue, specifically a decline in revenue of 40% or more in a relevant three-month period because of the bushfires (compared to the same period in the previous year).

    A decline in revenue as a result of bushfire may include multiple scenarios. This evidence requirement may be demonstrated when the business was in a defined disaster area and subject to at least one of:

    • an evacuation order or tourism leave order
    • other supply chain interruptions or stock damage resulting in reduced sales, such as road closures and utility disconnections, or
    • significantly reduced customer numbers, such as through consumer perception of danger and smoke haze.

    The application process for this grant has been simplified so eligible small businesses can access funds as quickly as possible. The grant may be used for, but is not limited to:

    • meeting standard business costs, including utilities, salaries and rent
    • seeking financial advice to support the recovery of the business
    • adjusting the business to be viable in the changed local context following the bushfires
    • developing the business and extending business reach through marketing and communications activities, or
    • improvements to make the business more resilient to future disasters.

    Applications from the newly included LGAs will be open from Thursday 23 April.


    For more information click on the link below or contact Service NSW on 13 77 88 or via their Business Concierge.


  • Eligibility extended for Red Cross $5,000 Immediate Assistance Grant

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    27 Mar 2020

    Immediate assistance is available for homeowners who have been affected by the recent bushfires.

    Eligibility has been extended to access the Primary Residence Repair grants of $5,000 to include destruction or damage to critical private water, septic and/or power infrastructure attached to your primary place of residence and located on your property.

    For more information please visit: https://www.redcross.org.au/grants

  • Council rate relief and support to help you rebuild

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    03 Apr 2020

    We are providing a range of measures to support our residents during recovery and rebuild.

    Rates and Charges Relief

    Council provides Rates and Charges relief to ratepayers (to extend due dates for payment etc.) via its Rates, Charges and Fees - Financial Hardship Policy. For more information, on how to apply for this relief please contact Council on 02 6648 4000 during business hours.

    Assistance with Repairs and Rebuilding

    For information about rebuilding after the fires please, contact Ben Oliver on 02 6648 4626 during business hours.

    Application Fee Relief

    Council at it's meeting of 13 February 2020 resolved to waive rebuilding development and construction related application fees and charges for bushfire impacted property owners identified by the Rural Fire Service Building Impact Assessment process.

    Please note that this fee waiver applies to benefit the current property owners and is not transferrable in the event of the property being sold.