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.

  • Meals on Wheels: Emergency Preparedness for Older People

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    09 Nov 2020
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    Emergency preparedness for older people – a whole of community concern?

    By Louise Sutcliffe, Project Officer, Meals on Wheels NSW

    The recent Black Summer fires 2019-20 followed by Covid-19 and the ongoing impacts of climate change are having dramatic impacts on all of our communities. During these times of crisis, we all know and support many people in our community who are vulnerable. People are vulnerable for many reasons; they may lack the language or digital skills to access information in a time of emergency, or have physical barriers such as a chronic illness or mobility issues that place them at greater risk.

    Vulnerable older adults are particularly at risk. They can often be isolated because they live by themselves, they sometimes don’t have access to their own transport because they have lost their licence, can’t afford the ongoing cost of a car or simply are unable to drive, they may have chronic health conditions or cognitive impairment which also can make their safety needs higher.

    Between 2014 and 2019 66% of house fatalities alone involved people 65 and older (Fire and Rescue NSW 2019)

    What we have learnt from the Black Summer fires, the floods and now COVID-19, is that keeping people safe, particularly those who are vulnerable in our community, must be a whole of community effort.

    One government department or local community service provider cannot do it alone. The effort needs to be embraced at so many different levels, both government and community.

    Before the Black Summer fires, the messaging from Emergency Services was clear, we can’t expect that emergency services will be there for every household to help them evacuate or protect homes. When the Black Summer fires hit, the bushfires raged simultaneously in so many communities at one time that more than 3000 homes were destroyed and 33 people died, despite our best efforts. We know that we must all do more as individuals and as a community to take all the necessary steps to be prepared and to know what to do if an emergency situation arises.

    Being prepared prior to an emergency event is key to improving the odds, particularly for older people who need support to live at home safely in the community, where lack of transportation, isolation, communication difficulties and disability can add to the complexity of the situation, particularly where evacuation is required.

    In collaboration with our key partners, Meals on Wheels NSW has developed ACT! A Collaborative Toolkit: Preparing Older People for Emergencies to assist home support providers and other community service organisations to empower older people to make decisions about preparing for emergencies such as bushfires, housefires, storms, heatwaves and floods.

    It builds on older people’s knowledge of local risks, initiating and supporting individual discussions around what they can do to prepare, providing concise, practical information and linking in appropriate supports, when required. It also builds the capacity of home support providers to train their staff and volunteers on how to discuss emergency preparedness with clients and make referrals to emergency services for assistance.

    This toolkit and all resources are now available for the aged care sector to use (see the resources on the Meals on Wheels website at https://nswmealsonwheels.org.au/ACT) and the feedback so far has been very positive from aged care providers, many of whom have been looking for a resource such as this, particularly since the summer fires.

    The main concern that some providers now face is having the time and staff/volunteer capacity to implement the toolkit. This is complicated by the current COVID-19 crisis, with services having to re-design the way they provide services to older people in the community.

    As part of the ACT! project, our independent evaluator, Robin Miles, Principal Consultant from the Miller Group, identified the following:

    “The key to the success of the project is that the tools and process (including training) developed by ACT! facilitate one-on-one conversations between at-risk older adults and a trusted person from their home support provider. These one-on-one conversations are based upon a client empowerment model and occur in the safety and comfort of the client’s own home…… The pre-existing relationship between the service provider and the client is vital to ensuring that the messages are clearly received and that awareness of local risks are understood but do not raise unnecessary anxiety or alarm in the client.”

    For these conversations to happen successfully, Robin indicates several things are required including:

    "Sufficient resourcing is required from the relevant funding bodies so that service providers can deliver ACT! effectively. Funding is needed to cover training costs, to ensure that staff and volunteers are well supported in the delivery of ACT! and finally that ACT! – which can deliver benefits to the wider community concerned with the safety and wellbeing of at-risk older adults - does not create too much of an additional impost on staff and volunteers.”

    (to access the full evaluation report go to: https://nswmealsonwheels.org.au/NswMealsOnWheels/media/ACT/ACT!-Preparing-Older-People-for-Emergencies-Evaluation-Final-Report-June-2020.pdf

    We invite all in the community sector to register to use the Toolkit which is available freely at:

    ACT! Toolkit Info and Registration

    We also call on our community sector stakeholders and peak bodies to support us in asking the government to:

    1. Improve/increase funding from local, state and federal governments to support CHSP, Aged Care providers, local community service providers including neighbourhood centres and others at the front line of keeping our communities safe

    2. increase the flexibility of current funding models across multiple programs that target vulnerable people to ensure that emergency preparedness is embraced and seen as core business.

    Neither emergency services nor the community/aged care sector can do it on their own. Both have much to offer but need a clear government commitment to flexible, local responses which are acknowledged and resourced.

    For further information: Email louises@nswmealsonwheels.org.au BD

    Coping with Anniversaries:

    You, your family and your community

  • Cinema at Coramaba Community Hall

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    21 Oct 2020
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    For over 50 years, country music legend Slim Dusty and his wife, Joy McKean trail-blazed their way across Australia, creating a musical legacy that to this day continues to entertain and inspire. Theirs is perhaps one of the greatest partnerships in Australian music history.

    Slim & I is a feature documentary that tells the incredible story of that partnership and of the brilliant woman who lived beside, rather than behind, the legend – Australia’s own Queen of Country Music, Joy McKean.

    When: Friday 30 October

    Where: Coramba Community Hall- 4 Dorrigo St.

    Cost: $12 includes film snack pack

    RSVP: 35 Capacity – Book essential www.jettytheatre.com Maximum group booking of 6.

    Seating will be allocated on arrival for COVID-19 contact tracing.

    Times: 2pm & 7pm

    Licensed bar available, please note this is a cashless event, eftpos will be available.

    This event is supported by the Bushfire Recovery Program.

  • Cinema at Eastern Dorrigo Community Hall

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    21 Oct 2020
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    For over 50 years, country music legend Slim Dusty and his wife, Joy McKean trail-blazed their way across Australia, creating a musical legacy that to this day continues to entertain and inspire. Theirs is perhaps one of the greatest partnerships in Australian music history.

    Slim & I is a feature documentary that tells the incredible story of that partnership and of the brilliant woman who lived beside, rather than behind, the legend – Australia’s own Queen of Country Music, Joy McKean.

    When: Saturday 31 October

    Where: Coramba Community Hall- 6 Pine Av, Ulong.

    Cost: $15 includes film snack pack

    RSVP: 80 Capacity – Book essential www.jettytheatre.com Maximum group booking of 6.

    Seating will be allocated on arrival for COVID-19 contact tracing.

    Times: 6.30pm

    Licensed bar available, please note this is a cashless event, eftpos will be available.

    This event is supported by the Bushfire Recovery Program.

  • Creative Recovery Projects: The Bushfires

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    21 Oct 2020
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    The Bushfires Exhibition showcases the extraordinary artworks that emerged from an arts-based, creative recovery project with Nana Glen, Ulong and Coramba Primary schools, alongside other creative responses to the 2019/2020 summer bushfires.

    Exhibition Dates: 27 Oct -14 Nov

    Open: Tues – Sat 10 am – 4 pm

    Location: Cultural Hub, Level 1 Coffs Central Shopping Centre

    Image credit: Class 5/6 Nana Glen Primary School

  • Rural Adversity Mental Health Program (RAMHP) Community Support Skills Training

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    01 Oct 2020
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    The Rural Adversity Mental Health Program (RAMHP) will be running a second Community Support Skills workshop with Orry Berry and Samantha Osborne.

    Community Support Skills training, develops the skills, knowledge and confidence of participants to identify and approach people they are concerned about, and provide appropriate advice to connect those people with mental health services and support. Participants are also encouraged to practice self-care and to seek help if they have any concerns about their own mental wellbeing.

    This short training course is open for all members of the Nana Glen community.

    Date: Wednesday 14 October

    Time: 10.00 am to 11.30 am

    Place: Nana Glen Community Hall

    RSVP: By Friday 9 October

    Please register your interest by email melinda.brooks@chcc.nsw.gov.au or on 0417 828 591.

  • Red Cross - Bushfire Anniversaries for Significant Events

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    01 Oct 2020
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    Dr Rob Gordon has recorded a webinar on Anniversaries for significant events. It is available on the Red Cross Recovery YouTube channel, https://youtu.be/Qmju_D54F_A for anyone who would like to better understand the impacts of anniversaries.

  • Bushfire Recovery Outreach Survey

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    23 Sep 2020

    Coffs Harbour City Council and the NSW Government are committed in supporting the community through recovery and would like to check-in and hear from residents who were affected by the fire.

    Council, in partnership with Service NSW and Resilience NSW, will shortly be sending out an email asking residents to answer a simple survey.

    This survey will help:

    • Better understand ongoing community needs.
    • Identify ways to continue in providing support.
    • Provide information about available assistance and recovery support services.


    Connecting with impacted community members helps provide relevant, ongoing support.

    As email doesn’t work for everyone, the Red Cross will also be providing phone support to assist in completing the survey.

    If you have any questions or would like further information, please email the Community Recovery Officer melinda.brooks@chcc.nsw.gov.au


  • Bushfire Recovery Action Plan 2020-2022

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    The ‘Bushfire Recovery Action Plan 2020-2022’ outlines the outcomes, activities and current status of recovery across four key areas.

    These include:

    • Community and Social Recovery
    • Business and Tourism Recovery
    • Environmental Recovery
    • Infrastructure Recovery

    Click here to view the August 2020 version of the ‘Bushfire Recovery Action Plan 2020-2022’.

    It is planned to update the recovery plan quarterly to reflect progress, any changes and status of activities.

    Click here to view the full media release.

  • Bushfire Recovery Grants Program

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    18 Aug 2020
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    The Bushfire Recovery Grants Program is an initiative delivered by Coffs Harbour City Council funded by the Commonwealth through the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangement. Fire affected landholders in the Coffs Harbour local government area are now able to get support through this project to carry out environmental recovery actions on their property. Coffs Harbour Regional Landcare, Orara Valley Rivercare Groups and Envite Environment have been engaged by Council to manage these environmental recovery efforts.

    The bushfires that occurred in the Coffs Harbour local government area in 2019, had a significant impact on the local biodiversity across a number of areas. The loss of vegetation in these fire affected areas has had significant impact on the local wildlife. This project aims to support fire affected landholders to carry out environmental recovery actions on their properties, to restore native vegetation that was lost in the fires and protect the remaining remnant vegetation to provide refuge and habitat for displaced wildlife.

    If you are a landholder whose property was affected by fire and would like support with environmental recovery actions or if your property was not affected but you are directly adjacent to a burnt area and have remnant vegetation that could be a valuable wildlife refuge, please click here and fill in the Expression of Interest Form.

    Please complete the form by September 20th 2020. We will then contact you in late September 2020 regarding your Expression of Interest.

    If you have any questions please contact Samantha Hessey at Samantha.Hessey@chcc.nsw.gov.au or 0407849 439.

  • Get Back to Making Lovely

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    01 Sep 2020
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    Free Mosaic Workshop for all residents of Nana Glen

    As the whole community was affected by the 2019-20 bushfires, all residents are welcome.

    Make a Bird, Bee or Butterfly Bath

    All material supplied, however you are welcome to use your own china and pottery pieces if you wish.

    Open to residents (13 years +).

    Nana Glen Community Hall

    Saturday 19 September Design and Tiling: 9.00am - 2.00pm

    Sunday 20 September Grout up: 10.00am - 1.00pm

    Booked out. For further information please contact leading artist Pamela Denise on mobile 0427 728 450.

    This is an initiative of the Coffs Harbour City Council Bushfire Recovery Program