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.

  • Coping with Anniversaries: You, your family and your community

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    Recovering from disasters can be a slow and stressful process. Milestones, like anniversaries, can be challenging and carry expectation that recovery should be over. Everyone recovers differently; there is no one thing or time that marks the end.

    It is normal to still feel sad or stressed around the anniversary of a disaster event. It takes time, but these feelings can fade if you have the right support and look after your wellbeing.

    Some tips from Disaster Recovery Mentor Dr Rob Gordon on looking after yourself and those close to you:

    • Rest and listen to what your body, mind and emotions tell you. You will eventually get energy back - you just have a big overdraft.

    • Give yourself recreation activities you enjoy which add energy and make things feel worthwhile.

    • Put energy into rebuilding relationships, family and important friendships. Make time to be together by changing routines and patterns. Check in on children.

    • Have health checks and review diet and exercise.

    • Take time for things you enjoy.

    Seeking further support

    Sometimes, personal recovery needs to be supported by specialist knowledge to ensure that stress doesn’t linger unnecessarily or lead to other health problems. Stress can resolve with advice from professionals, such as GPs, counsellors or psychologists. Consider seeking further support if:

    • Physical or other symptoms are causing concern

    • There is no one to talk to or relationships are being affected by the stress

    • You feel emotionally numb, depressed or more anxious than normal

    • You continue to have disturbed sleep and nightmares

    • You are unable to handle the intense feelings or physical sensations

    • You are becoming accident prone or increasing the use of drugs and alcohol

    • Recovery has stalled or does not seem to be proceeding.

    Anniversaries of disaster events can be upsetting, particularly if media coverage is intense. There may be formal events to mark the anniversary which you are invited to attend. There may also be informal events arranged by others affected. You may find these times difficult, so it is helpful to have a plan to reduce the impact. Limit your exposure to media coverage, plan your day with relaxing activities and make sure you have people available to support you, should you need it.

    Help is available online: https://www.redcross.org.au/get-help/emergencies/coping-after-a-crisis

    Help is available by phone: Lifeline 13 11 14

  • Grants Writing Webinar: Applying for Community Grants

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    Have you got a great idea for building the resilience or supporting the mental health recovery of your community? The NSW Government's Bushfire Local Economic Recovery (BLER) Fund supports the economic and social recovery at a local and regional level in areas impacted by the 2019-2020 bushfires.

    Red Cross has extensive experience writing successful grant applications and we want to share our knowledge and skills with you to help you best succeed. Wednesday 11th November 2020 - 10:00am ADST

    Online via Zoom – to register: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_Jd-dh2T5TfanA-3U7EKV0w

    Please send any questions through to recovery@redcross.org.au

  • Tune Up For Fellas

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    For farmers, fishers and rural blokes

    Primary Industries Reset Workshop

    Tuff for farmers, fishers and rural blokes

    WHY GO?

    • to relax, reflect and reset

    • to laugh and make new mates

    • to learn new business/life skills

    WHAT'S INCLUDED?

    • investigating a work-life balance

    • developing decision making skills and achievable goals

    • learning how to deal with difficult situations

    • developing achievable actions to create the future you want

    • strategies to deal with difficult situations and conflict

    “TUFF is a rare opportunity to take time out, to reflect on what is

    important to you, practice some tools and ideas for being more

    effective and focus on what needs to happen next in your life.”

    PARTICIPANT FEEDBACK

    COST

    Workshop registration, fees, accommodation and meals are covered by the DPI. You cover your travel and any other expenses.

    Come on fellas, just do it!

    WANT TO FIND OUT MORE?

    Contact Joshua Foster on 0427 781 514

  • Decision Fatigue: It's all too much

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    Australian Red Cross Disaster Recovery Advisors and Mentors Australia (DRAMA) invites you to join them as they host disaster recovery expert and cognitive scientist Jolie Wills as she shares her valuable insights on how the mind works under prolonged pressure, how we make decisions and how our reactions and behaviours are impacted by stress.

    Discussion topics will include:

    • The second 6 months of disaster recovery

    • The impacts of prolonged stress in bush fire-affected communities

    • Impact of continuing stress on thinking, decision making, emotions and action

    • COVID – added social and financial impacts on individuals and families resulting from isolation.


    Tuesday 10th November 2020 8:30am AWST | 10:30am AEST | 11:00am ACDT | 11:30am ADST | 1:30pm NZT:

    To register: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_CUcsrK-4RrqjZSFpGXdrMw?_sm_vck=ZGZnKN4PVGQRjPVQ7rN6Q4KMJJRPnR5RKJsGT5F4SRtKN4MLjLq7

  • Meals on Wheels: Emergency Preparedness for Older People

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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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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.

Page last updated: 27 August 2021, 17:06