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.

  • Anglicare North Coast - Help for those in need

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    Are you doing it tough at the moment?

    In May 2020 Department of Social Services made funds available for Anglicare North Coast to help members of the community that were directly impacted by the fires of 2019.

    Anglicare may be able to assist with:

    • Food vouchers
    • Rates, electricity and other household bills
    • Financial counselling and other forms of financial relief
    • Emergency Bushfire Relief

    Go to or call them on 66434844

    Private and confidential help for those in need.

  • Summer Bushfires: How are the plant and animal survivors 6 months on?

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    Australia roared into 2020 as a land on fire. The human and property loss was staggering, but the damage to nature was equally hard to fathom. By the end of the fire season 18.6 million hectares of land was destroyed.

    So what’s become of animal and plant survivors in the months since?

    Click to explore the impact Australia’s summer of fires had on an already drought-ravaged landscape and the work being done to rescue and recover habitats.

  • Australian Bushfires Report

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    January – June 2020

    Red Cross is pleased to present its six-month bushfire report, a testament to the strength of those who endured the Black Summer bushfires, the kindness of those who donated, and the dedication of our volunteers and staff.

    Because of you, Red Cross have been able to:
    • support 49,718 people through 37 fires from September to March
    • disburse $133m at 30 June, including grants for 4,380 people (and counting!)
    • establish a recovery footprint in 47 local government areas

    The report provides a full account of how donor funds are being used, plus insight into the triple burden of drought, bushfires and COVID-19, the key components of the organisation's recovery program, and recommendations to the Natural Disasters Royal Commission.

    Read the report here.

  • Free Disaster Recovery Webinar: David Younger

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    Bushfire Recovery During COVID-19. Personal and Community Resilience

    Please join Australian Red Cross Disaster Recovery Advisors and Mentors Australia (DRAMA) for a webinar as they host disaster recovery expert David Younger to talk about personal and community resilience in the face of bushfire recovery and COVID-19.

    David is a Clinical Psychologist with extensive experience supporting communities affected by natural disasters and emergencies.

    Discussion topics include:

    • Understanding Recovery

    • Why Does it Feel So Hard?

    • The Triple Whammy “Bushfire, Drought and COVID-19”

    • How to Promote Self-Care, Connection and Wellbeing


      Audience: Communities impacted by disasters and COVID-19

      Date: Thursday 23rd July 2020

      Time: 12:00pm – 2:00pm (AEST)

      Please register by clicking on the webinar link below:

      https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_CStrgxqiQDq4V4hxkD6poQ

    Please send your questions for David through to recovery@redcross.org.au







  • Community Outreach: Saturday July 18 Nana Glen Community Hall

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    Meet With Your Local Bushfire Recovery Support Team

    With the easing of COVID-19 restrictions from 1 July, there is now an opportunity to meet with more of the community.

    Your Local Bushfire Recovery Support Team will be at the Nana Glen Community Hall from 9.00 am to 12.00 pm on Saturday 18 July.

    In attendance will be: Red Cross; Helen Cumming from The Salvation Army; Peter Ainsworth from Life House Care; Joshua Foster and Roz Rodgers from the Rural Resilience Program; Sam Osbourne form Health NSW and Melinda Brooks from Coffs Harbour City Council.

    We will provide bushfire recovery updates or we are happy to just have a chat.

    As we still need to adhere strictly to COVID-19 restrictions, we will be limiting the number of people in the hall at any one time and practising social distancing. In-line with government recommendations if you have a fever, cough or feeling unwell please seek medical attention and refrain from visiting.

    To allow you to drop-by freely, there is no requirement to book a timeslot but please note sessions will be limited to approximately 10 minutes if multiple people are waiting. If you require more time, we will make arrangements with you.

    Date: July 18

    Time: 9.00am to 12.00pm

    Location: Nana Glen Community Hall


  • Free Legal Help For Bushfire-Hit Locals

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    Farmers, small businesses and regional communities recovering from the worst bushfire season in memory are set to benefit from close to $5 million in Commonwealth funding for NSW’s legal assistance services.

    Member for Coffs Harbour Gurmesh Singh said this investment will play an important role in helping our community recover from the devastating bushfire season.

    “The fires not only caused the loss of life, homes, livestock and property, but in their wake, the flames also left many people across our community with difficult legal problems,” Mr Singh said.

    “For anyone on the Coffs Coast facing insurance claims, tenancy issues, financial hardship, social security entitlements and other legal problems caused by the bushfires, this investment will mean they have access to more free legal support than ever before.”

    Deputy Premier and Minister responsible for Disaster Recovery John Barilaro said the funding will boost a range of legal assistance services and programs.

    “Almost $3 million in funding will help individuals navigating legal issues caused by the bushfires and made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Mr Barilaro said.

    “A further $2 million will be invested to provide legal support for small businesses and primary producers. This will allow Legal Aid NSW to launch a new grants program, enabling private lawyers to access grants of aid to deliver free legal services to local businesses impacted by bushfires.”

    Attorney General Mark Speakman said the funding will boost the capacity of Legal Aid, Community Legal Centres and the Aboriginal Legal Service to support individuals in bushfire affected areas across the State.

    The $4.9 million Bushfire Funding Agreement is part of the Australian Government’s $2 billion response to the 2019-20 Bushfire Disaster over two years.

    The Agreement will deliver the following legal assistance supports:

    Individuals

    • Boost Legal Aid’s Disaster Response Legal Service to provide advice and referrals on issues including insurance claims, financial hardship, accommodation and Centrelink entitlements.
    • Additional staff at five generalist Community Legal Centres (CLCs) in bushfire affected communities and three specialist CLCs delivering services to bushfire affected individuals.
    • Increase the capacity of the Aboriginal Legal Service to provide its services to individuals in bushfire affected communities.

    Businesses and primary producers

    • Establish and promote a new grants policy for private practitioners to deliver legal services to small business and primary producers for bushfire related issues.
    • Extend Justice Connect’s pro bono platform to link small business and primary producers with pro bono services.
    • Support the Financial Rights Legal Centre to continue offering its services specialising in areas including consumer credit, banking, debt recovery and insurance to small business and primary producers.
  • Free Training Psychological First Aid: Lifeline North Coast

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    Psychological First Aid

    Psychological First Aid training develops personal ability and response to those in distress after a traumatic community event. Lifeline North Coast have highly qualified trainers who are offering a free training course (and guidance) to support the emotional, psychological, and social wellbeing of your community.

    The Psychological First Aid training program will empower you from a crisis-centred approach to one of resiliency-building and develop your ability to respond to those in distress after traumatic events and disasters (including COVID-19).

    This training is applicable in a range of contexts including the workplace, disaster response, critical incidents such as vehicle accidents, infectious pandemics, terrorism and community tragedy.

    Please click on the link to learn more and register for training.

    27 July 9.00 am - 1.00 pm https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/psychological-first-aid-registration-111562687000

    28 July 9.00 am - 1.00 pm https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/psychological-first-aid-registration-111570171386

    If you do not have internet access or you would like to discuss this program further, please call 66 514 093.

  • Get Back to Making Lovely

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    Free Mosaic Workshop at Nana Glen

    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 Nana Glen residents (13 years +).

    Nana Glen Hall

    Saturday 25 July Design and Tiling: 9.00am - 2.00pm

    Sunday 26 July Grout up: 10.00am - 1.00pm

    Boooked out. To be placed on a waitlist and for further information please contact leading artist Pamela Denise on mobile 0427 728 450.

    Funded by Red Cross

  • Prosper Coffs Harbour

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    It has been nearly six months since we saw the peak of the 'Black Summer' fires, but we're only now really coming to understand the full impact of these catastrophic fires on our native wildlife. It’s been estimated by the University of Sydney that the number of animals killed in bushfires in NSW alone was at least 800 million. This loss is almost incomprehensible and made worse by the knowledge that we were not immune to these impacts on the Coffs Coast, suffering major losses in the Orara Valley.

    During the pandemic, the Coffs Harbour Protection of the Environment Trust continued to help native wildlife in bushfire-affected areas by providing additional water stations, food and nesting boxes to aid their survival. But to continue this important work in the community we need your help.

    Before the end of 30 June, please consider supporting the Coffs Harbour Protection of the Environment Trust with a tax deductible donation. The Trust is a registered Australian Charity and can provide a tax deductible receipt for any donations $2.00 or more.

    By supporting Prosper, you too can make a valuable contribution to saving native flora and fauna on the Coffs Coast.

  • Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements

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    Many residents have requested an update regarding bushfire recovery grant funding. There are a number of projects and activities being planned or underway to support the recovery of the Orara Valley community. The delivery and structure of many of these projects have been hindered by government COVID-19 restrictions. However, Council remains committed to planning and thinking creatively to ensure projects are delivered. Funding projects target different needs within the community and where possible are community-led.

    Coffs Harbour City Council received $ 1.4 million in bushfire funding from the State and Federal Governments to support the community. These funds will support the projects outlined below and all funding is required to be acquitted through the funding agencies to ensure funds are spent in accordance with funding agreements.

    Project

    Commonwealth

    $1.3 m

    State

    $100 k

    Total

    Business and Tourism

    $18 000

    $50 000

    $68 000

    Community Recovery/Resilience


    $50 000

    $50 000

    Nana Glen Community Hall upgrade

    $70 000


    $70 000

    Community Recovery Officer position

    $150 000


    $150 000

    Hard stand sites for emergency water access

    $250 000


    $250 000

    Turn around bays for emergency vehicles

    $70 000


    $70 000

    Unallocated funds

    $78 784


    $78 784

    Upgrade of Neighbourhood Safer Places

    $200 000


    $200 000

    Environmental Recovery Program

    $213 216


    $213 216

    Upgrade to McPhersons Road Bridge (Crown asset)

    $250 000


    $250 000

    Total

    $1 300 000

    $100 000

    $140 000

    Business & Tourism

    Whilst the Orara Valley was directly impacted by bushfire, other parts of the business community throughout the wider local government area were also indirectly impacted by bushfire activity. As a result, the Council received $100 000 from the Bushfire Community Resilience and Economic Recovery Fund. This project was designed to assist with economic recovery and drive visitation to the Coffs Harbour area through events and activities that showcase the Orara Valley. The following activities have been postponed due to government COVID-19 restrictions and are now planned for November and December. Tourism and business recovery activities include:

    • Support of existing markets including promotion activity, support for organisers and development of small businesses.
    • Showcase Orara Valley’s products and abilities to the wider Coffs Coast and surrounding regions with a local food flavours “long lunch” in the Orara Valley.
    • Development and promotion of a tourism trail across the Orara Valley, showcasing the variety of experiences.
    • Imagery/videography and content for local community and business to promote community atmosphere and liveability.

    Community Recovery and Resilience

    Successful Disaster Recovery specialist Anne Leadbeater states, “Being recovered is being able to live a life you have reason to value”. Successful recovery is community-centred, responsive and flexible, ensuring there is community engagement and support to move forward.

    Community Recovery and Resilience activities have been severely impacted by COVID-19 restrictions but planning around events continues. Events currently under consultation or in the planning phase include:

    • Community preparedness activities to help educate community about preparing property for bushfire and promoting a bushfire plan.
    • Inviting Disaster Recovery Specialist speakers to help educate community about the recovery process.
    • School recovery art project.
    • Supporting community organisations to host community events.


    The Community Recovery Officer (CRO) wants your ideas on how to promote recovery and resilience in the community. All ideas are welcome including any existing community-led activities that bring community together. Please email the CRO your ideas or complete the survey Have Your Say - Allocating Bushfire Recovery Funding. Email: melinda.brooks@chcc.nsw.gov.au

    Nana Glen Memorial Hall Upgrade

    Whilst not damaged in the bushfire, the Nana Glen Memorial is utilised by a variety of community groups and is identified as a NSW Rural Fire Service Neighbourhood Safer Place. To improve the amenity of the Hall upgrade works included the installation of solar panels and air-conditioning.

    Community Recovery Officer Position

    The appointment of a CRO enables a dedicated position to work alongside affected property owners and the broader community and liaise with Council; community groups; various State agencies; charitable organisations; and nongovernment organisations to enable and support the community during the recovery process. The CRO was appointed in April.

    Hard Stand Sites and Emergency Vehicle Turnaround Bays

    The upgrade of hard stand sites will ensure durable water access across the local government area during fire emergencies. Locales for the hard stand sites include: Brooklana; Camp Creek; Ulong; Lowanna; Nana Glen; Bucca; Moonee; Upper Corindi; Bonville. Locales for turnaround bays for emergency vehicles include: Gunderene Road; Powerline; Mole Creek; and Georges Gold Mine.

    Assessments of works will commence in August with rolling completion dates to be finalised by November.

    Upgrade of Neighbourhood Safer Places

    Neighbourhood Safer Places are designated by the NSW Rural Fire Services as a place of last resort during a bushfire. Subject to further planning, Council is seeking to upgrade the Eastern Dorrigo Community Hall at Ulong and Lowanna Community Hall to be used by community and emergency service personnel during a bushfire emergency.

    Environmental Recovery Program

    Consultation has included speaking to residents and community environmental groups. The main community concerns include: weed control; erosion control and mitigation; regeneration of burnt lands and installation of nesting boxes. The Environmental Recovery Program will likely unfold in two phases and coordination of service providers and guidelines around the program are currently being planned.

    Upgrade to McPhersons Road Bridge (Crown asset)

    During the bushfire event there was uncertainty as to whether the McPhersons Road Bridge could support the weight of a loaded fire appliance. An external consultant is presently reviewing the load bearing assessment of the bridge and if the bridge is certified as load bearing, no further action will be required. Alternatively, if the bridge is deemed not to be load bearing, Council will seek to advocate Crown Lands to replace the bridge. Should this bid be unsuccessful, Council will complete the work with the allocated Commonwealth funding.

    Should funding not be required, the $250 000 will be reallocated as an additional $100 000 for upgrade of Neighbourhood Safer Places project and $150 000 to the Environmental Recovery Program.

    Please feel free to contact the Community Recovery Officer if you would like further information.

Page last updated: 27 August 2021, 17:06