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.

  • National Recovery and Resilience Agency Launched 

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    On Wednesday 5 May, the Prime Minister the Hon Scott Morrison launched the National Recovery and Resilience Agency at an event in Townsville, Queensland.
    The Recovery and Resilience Agency brings together the National Bushfire Recovery Agency and the National Drought and North Queensland Flood Response and Recovery Agency.

    This agency will draw on lessons learned through the challenges our communities have faced such as floods, bushfire, drought and impacts from COVID-19 to respond promptly so that recovery can commence sooner so that individuals, communities and businesses can better prepare for future shocks.

    “People who have been hit by a disaster or who are struggling under the heavy weight of prolonged drought, want to talk to a person, someone who understands what they are going through. The National Recovery and Resilience Agency will have its ‘boots on the ground’ through a national network of Recovery Support Officers who come from, live and work in communities across Australia.” The Hon Shane L Stone AC QC, National Coordinator-General Drought & North Queensland Floods. Visit www.recovery.gov.au for more information or click here for the full media release.

  • Community Recovery and Resilience Small Grants Program

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    Applications are now open for small scale community grants. These grants are open to local community organisations to assist with the ongoing recovery needs from the 2019-2020 bushfires and to prepare for future disasters.

    The aim of this funding is to increase community capacity and capability to prepare for and recover from disasters. Grants of $2,500 to $5,000 to deliver flexible locally led community recovery activities and will be awarded to eligible community organisations that can:

    • Engage with the community to educate and raise awareness about hazards, with a focus on creating better prepared and resilient communities
    • Raise awareness that planning for disasters is a shared responsibility and educate groups to reduce risk, prepare for and respond to a disaster and encourage recovery arrangements.

    Applications are open until 30 July 2021. Apply online here or contact the Community Recovery team on 6648 4840. We are happy to help write the application!

  • Part-time Community Recovery Project Support Officer Appointed 

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    To support the coordination, engagement and implementation of the Bushfire Community Recovery and Resilience Funding programs a part time Project Officer, Ottilie Bick-Simpson has been appointed. She brings a breadth of knowledge and skills from her work with local council and state government in community engagement, communications and project management. This position has been funded by Phase Two Stream 2 - Bushfire Community Recovery Resilience Fund.

  • GIVIT

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    In partnership with the NSW Government, GIVIT is managing donations during this recovery. To help the people and communities impacted by the severe storms and flooding, give what’s needed when it’s needed. View exactly what’s needed via www.GIVIT.org.au - you can donate money, items, services or volunteer support.

    PLEASE DO NOT SEND UNREQUESTED DONATIONS

    We know people are incredibly generous, but unrequested donations hinder recovery efforts and at this crucial time it’s important to not overwhelm charities on-the-ground. GIVIT’s website captures all donations online, so you can see and give exactly what's needed.

    BEST WAY TO HELP? FUND DONATIONS

    100% of donated money GIVIT receives is used to purchase essential items and services needed by people impacted. They buy locally, wherever possible, to also support local businesses. Please do not bring in donations that can be bought locally.

    Thank you all for your generosity to help the people and communities affected by this ongoing disaster.

  • Rural Adversity Mental Health Program - Flood Support

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    As with all disasters, the Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health (CRRMH) and it’s Rural Adversity Mental Health Program (RAMHP) is responding to the March 2021 flood crisis in NSW.

    Disasters can have a big impact on those affected. The floods in NSW are ongoing and while physical safety is the priority, there are things you can do to take care of yourself and your mental health, particularly after the immediate threat of danger has passed. You may start to notice your mental health and wellbeing has been affected.

    As with all disasters, rural communities will need continued support to sustain mental wellbeing and to prevent mental health problems developing. The CRRMH is committed to supporting the mental health and wellbeing of flood-affected communities.

    For resources, information and support for flood-affected individuals and communities, please click on Flood Support and link below:

    HELP SERVICES

  • Bale Out!

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    We’re loading up the truck with hay bales, musicians and loads of fun activities from April to June. The entire Coffs region will come to life with a series of 7 unique and local pop-up events in Ulong, Coramba, Nana Glen, Red Rock and Toormina, bookended by two big celebrations in Coffs Harbour.

    Bale Out! is a celebration of people, place and all that connects us with an emphasis on food, music and good old fashioned family friendly fun and activities.

    With the catchcry of “live large and local!” communities across the greater Coffs area have grabbed hold of the idea with great enthusiasm, taking the opportunity to share and celebrate their local village identities, individual passions and community aspirations.

    Join us for a modern take on the beloved old ‘greased pig’ competition or cheer on at the handcrafted boat races on the Orara River. Enjoy classical musicians on lush green river banks or visit the ‘Big Diggers’ giant machinery displays and the 100 motorbike ‘show and shine’. Finish off with a groove to the 200 live drummers pumping out African beats. Every event is brimming with local flavour and pride that will have you grinning from ear to ear.

    Whether you’re wanting to crank up to excitement or just chill out and enjoy the entertainment, make this your go-to event these coming holidays .
    Don’t forget to bring your own chair or picnic blanket.

    Saturday 17 April – Bale Out! Ulong
    Monday 19 April – Bale Out! Toormina
    Saturday 1 May – Bale Out! Red Rock
    Sunday 23 May – Bale Out! Coramba
    Saturday 5 June – Bale Out! Nana Glen
    Sunday 20 June – Bale Out! Family Fun Day – Harbourside Markets & surrounds

    All Bale Out! events are free and everyone is welcome.
    Proudly brought to you by Coffs Harbour City Council with support from NSW Government’s Summer Fund.

  • Hotspots Fire Project

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    Managing fire on your property and across the landscape

    The Hotspots Fire Project enables landholders and public land managers to work together to reduce bush fire risk across the landscape, whilst maintaining and improving biodiversity and protecting Cultural Heritage.

    FREE two-day workshop

    For landholders in the Nana Glen Area

    In conjunction with Coffs Harbour City Council

    Orara Valley Hotspots Fire Project workshop series

    Discuss risk management, fire ecology, recovery and regeneration Understand how your neighbours and other land management agencies manage fire

    Receive a large aerial photo of your property to develop your own Fire Management Plan Participate in field-based exercises and observe a demonstration burn

    When: Workshop 1 – 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, 8 May 2021

    Workshop 2 – 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, 22 May 2021

    Where: Meet at the Nana Glen Hall, 26 Grafton Street, Nana Glen

    For more information and to register contact Jamie Bertram, NSW Rural Fire Service on 0408 839 523.

    Visit Hotspots Fire Project

  • First Year of Bushfire Recovery Report

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    A long list of infrastructure, economic, environment, psychosocial and health initiatives have been undertaken in partnership with community groups, residents, government agencies and non-government organisations in the bushfire-affected Orara Valley since the Liberation Trail fire threatened homes and businesses in November 2019.

    “Having a dedicated Community Recovery Officer for the Valley and positive collaboration with the other levels of government has made a huge difference to being able to get things done on the ground,” said Coffs Harbour Mayor Councillor Denise Knight commenting on the December 2020 Update of the Bushfire Recovery Action Plan 2020-2022. Despite the challenges imposed on activities by COVID-19, we’ve remained clearly focussed on what needs to be done.

    “But the real credit goes to the Orara Valley community as a whole which has proved to be extraordinarily resilient and engaged in the recovery process. Working with the locals – and the priorities they’ve identified – has been a very positive experience.”

    Alongside the wide range of practical and funding assistance provided to locals by the three levels of government, a varied program of community events, drop-in and outreach sessions, training, creative and environmental initiatives have been run in the Valley to help people connect, receive help and maintain their physical and mental health.

    The Nana Glen Rural Fire Brigade has already been using a hardstand area installed to make access to water easier during fire emergencies. This is part of a $250,000 project to provide hardstand locations across the local government area at Brooklana, Ulong, Lowanna, Nana Glen, Bucca, Moonee, Upper Corindi and Bonville.

    Among the higher profile projects has been a Creative Recovery Project for 150 primary school aged students spearheaded by Coffs Harbour City Council’s Regional Gallery and Museum. The key component was classroom-based creative activities workshops led by Gumbaynggirr Elder Uncle Mark Flanders and Art Therapist Emma Gentle that helped the students work through their experience of the bushfires.

    A Tourist Trail of the Orara Valley has also been developed to encourage visitors to explore and experience the natural spaces, cultural and historical experiences and tasty delights of the region. This was launched with a very successful ‘Shop the Orara Valley’ campaign to showcase the food, produce and retail delights of the area.

    On the ground repair and replacement works for fencing for local property-owners have also been continuing with the assistance of charity and social enterprise organisations – BackTrack, BlazeAid, and the Rotary Club of Coffs Harbour.

    Nana Glen Landcare volunteers have also received funding and support to further rehabilitate the historic Coldwater Creek Travelling Stock Reserve (TSR) as a tourist attraction and site of local significance.

    Pictured above are members of the BackTrack team at work repairing fencing in the Valley.

  • Family Fun Day - Orara Valley Community Pool

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    All community members are invited to come and enjoy a family fun day at Orara Valley Pool. Inflatables will be in the water and free entry for all.

    When:

    Sunday February 28

    Sunday March 28

    Open: 12.00 pm to 4.00 pm

    Where: Grafton Street, Nana Glen

    This is a COVID safe event and numbers will be restricted.

    For enquiries please contact Michelle on 0427 492 244

    Supported by the Coffs Harbour City Council Bushfire Recovery Program.

  • Kids News Bushfire Poetry Competition

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    One year on from the start of Black Summer, Kids News is launching the Bushfire Poetry Competition.

    Kids News wants children and teenagers around the country — and particularly those in fire-affected regions — to share their experiences of the fires, then and now in a poem.

    The poem might be a 'thank you' to firefighters, a tribute to all that was lost or a celebration of your own or your community’s resilience. It might be about how the fires looked and smelt, how you felt back then, or how you feel now, looking back at last summer.

    Two poems — one from a primary school student and one from a secondary school student — will be selected to be included in a special book to commemorate the Black Summer bushfires.

    The book, a joint project between HarperCollins Publishers, News Corp Australia and the National Bushfire Recovery Agency, will capture the experiences of the people and communities affected by the fires — in photos and stories of courage, perseverance and recovery.

    Poem entries cannot be more than 200 words (1400 characters). You will need your teacher or parent/guardian to submit your entry for you, as well as permission from your parent or guardian. Entries close at 5pm on February 20, 2021.

    Enter the Kids News Bushfire Poetry Competition here

Page last updated: 27 August 2021, 17:06