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.

  • Bushfire recovery and COVID-19

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    30 Mar 2020

    While COVID-19 introduces a new challenge to bushfire recovery, the NSW Government and Coffs Harbour City Council are determined to maintain momentum and keep delivering help to bushfire impacted communities.

    The way in which assistance is delivered will have to adapt to the new circumstances.

    The NSW Government program with clean-up program with Laing O’Rourke will continue. It’s been deemed an essential service.

    Community and contractor safety is paramount. Laing O’Rourke project teams are implementing measures to protect our community and staff and contractors.

    They are still aiming to have most of the residential properties cleared by 30 June.

    Properties used for residential, small business or primary production purposes are eligible for the clean-up program. This includes insured and uninsured properties.

    While free, you must opt-on for clean-up. Call Service NSW on 13 77 88 to register, or do it online.

    COVID-19 and Coffs City Council services and programs

    The Recovery Office at Nana Glen has been closed until further notice. Keep an eye on this page for recovery updates.

    There is a Coronavirus page on Council’s website with updated information on any current changes to other Coffs City Council services and community activities.

    As updates and information are changing frequently we strongly recommend downloading the official Government “Coronavirus Australia” app in the Apple App Store or Google Play, or join their WhatsApp channel on iOS or Android.


  • Temporary accommodation available

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    03 Apr 2020

    The NSW Government is working to make sure people in bushfire-impacted areas are safe and cared for.

    In the lead-up to Winter, there is still emergency accommodation available for people affected by bushfires.

    Any person affected by the bushfires can be put in temporary accommodation immediately by calling Service NSW on 13 77 88.

  • Service NSW Business Concierge provides small business support

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    03 Apr 2020

    It’s been a difficult few months for our community and businesses.

    If your business has been impacted by the NSW bushfires, is feeling the impact of the measures to control COVID-19 (or is impacted by both), contact the Service NSW Business Concierge.

    They’ll identify the specific support and services available to your business, including relevant grants.

    To be connected to the Service NSW Business Concierge call 13 77 88 or request a call back via their website.

  • Mental health support for our community

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    03 Apr 2020

    The emotional impacts of bushfire can continue long after the fires have passed. You might also be feeling additional distress and anxiety during the coronavirus outbreak. Support is available, you are not alone.

    The following are free services available 24 hours a day, seven days a week:

    • Lifeline Bushfire Recovery: 13 43 57
    • Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636
    • MensLine Australia: 1300 78 9978
    • Kids Helpline: 1800 551 800
    • NSW Mental Health Line: 1800 011 511

    If you are anyone you know is in immediate danger, call 000.

    Northern NSW - Connect to Wellbeing

    The following free service is available to people impacted by fires and drought. No GP referral is needed. Call Northern NSW - Connect to Wellbeing on 1300 160 339.

  • New NSW Bushfire Recovery Newsletter

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    27 Mar 2020

    The NSW Office of Emergency Management have released community recovery information and updated their services to respond to COVID 19 restrictions.

    Read the full newsletter for a list of service providers contact information such as mental health, clean ups, emergency temporary accommodation, customer care support line and information on accessing the following forms of financial assistance:

    • Small Business Grants
    • Business Loans
    • Free legal advice
    • Stamp duty relief
    • Commonwealth Government Disaster Recovery Payment & Allowance
    • NSW Government Disaster Relief Grants
    • Volunteer Firefighters’ Financial Support
    • Primary Industries Grants Program

    For the full newsletter please follow this link: https://haveyoursay.coffsharbour.nsw.gov.au/52967/documents/147323

  • 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.

  • Assistance for landholders and primary producers

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    03 Apr 2020

    There is recovery assistance, grants and advice available for landholders, primary producers, commercial fishers and other industries impacted by the recent bushfires.

    For information, visit the NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) Bushfire response and recovery page: https://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/climate-and-emergencies/bushfires

    If you have concerns about livestock call the Agriculture and Animal Services Hotline on 1800 814 647 for assistance.

  • Additional Bushfire Recovery Projects Approved by Council

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    27 Mar 2020

    A further program of bushfire recovery works worth $983,216 was approved by Councillors at the Council Meeting on March 26, 2020.

    The funds are part of the Australian and State Government’s $1.4m allocation.

    The latest list of works followed a second Bushfire Recovery Community Meeting and workshop in Nana Glen on March 11.

    The workshop considered responses to an online survey, phone and in-person interviews with Nana Glen residents and Orara Valley businesses. It also took into consideration general feedback given directly to the Acting Community Recovery Officer, as well as ongoing consultation with the community-led Orara Valley Bushfire Recovery Working Group.

    The new recovery works include:

    • Ten hardstand sites for emergency water access by Rural Fire Service (RFS) vehicles across the local government area $250,000.
    • Turnaround Bays for emergency vehicles $70,000.
    • Upgrade of Neighbourhood Safer Places $200,000.
    • Environmental Recovery Program $213,216

    Roads and bridges works

    Concerns over the condition of McPhersons Bridge were also raised as local RFS personnel avoided it during the bushfires because there were doubts that it could take a fully-laden cat tanker. McPhersons Bridge is Crown Land property so Council has proposed that it will approach Crown Lands to discuss remediation.

    A total of $250,000 of the funding has been identified for infrastructure improvements in the program, but this can be reallocated as an additional $100,000 for Neighbourhood Safer Places and $150,000 to the Environmental Recovery Program if not needed.

    Road upgrades in the Orara Valley, including Ellems Quarry Road and McPhersons Road were also highlighted during the community consultations.

    Rather than use funding designated for bushfire recovery for the road works, Council is able to apply for some funding from the Federal Government’s Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA), which covers damage to public infrastructure during disasters. Council will provide the balance from its own road budgets.

    Community event funding

    In addition, funding for a future program of community events and activities that promote local business and industry recovery, as well as community resilience and connection, is to come from a $100,000 NSW Government grant, rather than the Australian Government’s $1.3m funding package.


  • NSW Bushfire clean-up information hub launched by Laing O'Rourke

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    26 Mar 2020
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    Laing O’Rourke was appointed by the NSW Government to coordinate the NSW Bushfire clean-up program across the state.

    Clean-up works are currently scheduled to commence in our region within the next fortnight (subject to weather and ease of access).

    Visit the Laing O'Rourke NSW Bushfire clean-up website to find· information on clean-up eligibility, scheduling and locations.

    The clearing and removal of damaged materials is an important step in the recovery from the devastation that has been experienced by our community. By clearing the deluge communities will be able to start to rebuild their lives both emotionally and physically.

    While COVID 19 is presenting new challenges, the NSW Government and Laing O’Rourke are committed to keeping momentum in the roll out of the clean-ups while keeping your health and safety as the highest priority.

    For more information about the NSW bushfire recovery clean-up program visit Service NSW https://www.service.nsw.gov.au/transaction/register-opt-nsw-bushfire-clean

    For more information about Laing O’Rourke activities in your area call 1800 007 539 or email nswbushfirecleanup@laingorourke.com.au