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.

  • Red Cross Webinar: Supporting Community Service Organisations Through Disaster Recovery

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    29 May 2020

    Are you a neighbourhood centre, community service or grass roots organisation working hard to support your community as they recover from the Black Summer bushfires?

    Australian Red Cross Disaster Recovery Advisors and Mentors Australia (DRAMA) invites you to join them as they host Kris Newton, Manager of Mountains Community Resource Network and Anne Crestani, Manager of Step by Step Recovery Support Service as they share their own experiences and learnings of working within the post-disaster community recovery space.

    This webinar will provide community organisations with insight on how to navigate formal recovery arrangements and how the work they do can support critical community-led long-term recovery.

    Audience: Community service and grass root organisations, neighbourhood houses etc.

    Thursday 4th June 2020

    Time: 3:00pm

    Please register by clicking on the webinar link below:

    https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_XO5-l5KcT7elHhRZz2uT3Q

  • Clean-Up Update

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    22 May 2020

    BlazeAid continue to assist residents in the Orara Valley and to-date have replaced 40 km of fencing. Laing O’Rourke have been on-the-ground for approximately three weeks and have completed clean-up on 12 of the 18 properties registered. Registration can be accessed on the Service NSW website under NSW Bushfire Clean-Up.

  • 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 Recovery Basics

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    18 May 2020

    Coping with a disaster can be extremely distressing for those directly affected, as well as workers and volunteers supporting the community.

    A Recovery Basics session looks at:

    • Who is affected by a disaster
    • Typical psychological and social reactions after disasters
    • The impact of stress on recovering after a disaster
    • Looking after yourself and others

    Tuesday, 19th May - 02:00-4.00pm, via Zoom.

    REGISTRATION LINK - https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_ayODGRj6S12mn_pBWgBJ6Q


    For more information

    Phone: Eleanor Harris 0426 916 984

    Email: eharris@redcross.org.au

  • Architects Assist - Disaster Recovery Assistance

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    18 May 2020

    Architects Assist is an initiative by the built environment industry to help and support those affected by the Australian bushfire crisis and help communities ‘build back better’. If you lost your home and have limited or no funds to rebuild you can request help with Architects Assist. If you are a registered architect you can offer free assistance to those in need.

  • 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.

  • Grant Funding to Support the Orara Valley Community Bushfire Recovery Efforts

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    18 May 2020

    The Orara Valley Progression Association (OVPA) has been successful in securing grant funding from the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal for Community Recovery. Ross and Faye Neil from Glenreagh HeartStart will volunteer their time as Team Leaders to support recovery efforts of the community, investigate establishing Community Hubs in Nana Glen and Glenreagh and to improve wellbeing of individuals and the community. HeartStart and the Coffs Harbour Council Community Recovery Officer will work in cooperation to support community recovery.

    You can contact Ross and Faye by email heartstart@glenreagh.org.au or mobile 0439 190 076

  • Being Informed About Bushfire Recovery - Questionnaire

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    01 May 2020

    The National Bushfire Recovery Agency (NBRA) is committed to ensuring people in bushfire affected areas are supported and have access to the help and information they need.

    The aim of the questionnaire is to find out how to best support people with information as the recovery process continues. There are 8 questions and should take less than 10 minutes to complete. The questionnaire is open until the end of May.

    The Social Deck is managing the questionnaire on behalf of the NBRA and during May will host a number of online group discussions. Community members can express an interest to participate via the questionnaire or by emailing engage@thesocialdeck.com

    If you have any questions or would like support in completing the questionnaire, please contact The Social Deck at engage@thesocialdeck.com or phone 0491 617 118. Information is collected and used in accordance with the Privacy Act 1988.

    Access the questionnaire via the link https://bit.ly/bushfiresrecovery

  • 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.


  • BlazeAid Glenreagh Camp Remains Open During COVID-19

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    03 Apr 2020

    BlazeAid has been putting in place precautions to protect their volunteers and the community during the coronavirus outbreak. They are continuing to assist affected Orara Valley locals to rebuild their fences.

    The Glenreagh Camp currently remains open. All remaining BlazeAid camps are required to abide by strict regulations regarding hygiene, social distancing and isolation.

    In order to help reduce the spread of COVID-19, from Friday 27 March 2020, until further notice, BlazeAid is not accepting any local or new volunteers in their camps.

    Due to early action and established protocols, all volunteers who are currently at base camps around the country have already been through a mandatory 14 day isolation period, and continue practicing minimal contact with communities.

    This way, BlazeAid is still able to help the farmers in our communities still recovering from the bushfires.

    Some of their volunteers have been billoted out to farm stays, where they will help rebuild until the COVID crisis ends. Others work out of a base camp and travel to farms, and no contact is made with farmers other than via phone.

    For more information on the BlazeAid camp at Glenreagh contact the camp's coordinator John Lillico, 0484 145 732 or at blazeaid.glenreagh@gmail.com