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.

  • Council rate relief and support to help you rebuild

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    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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    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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    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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    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

  • Proposed program of works to be considered by Council at 26th March 2020 meeting

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    A community workshop was held on the 11th March 2020 to update and inform property owners and the broader community of recent developments in the recovery process and obtain feedback on the current funding available for established community priorities.

    In addition to feedback from both the community meeting of the 28th January 2020 and the workshop of the 11th March 2020; Council considered 42 responses to a Have Your Say survey on Council’s website, telephone and in-person interviews with Nana Glen residents and Orara Valley businesses, feedback directly to the Acting Community Recovery Officer, as well as ongoing consultation with the community-led Orara Valley Bushfire Recovery Working Group.

    Resulting from this community engagement and consultation with the NSW Rural Fire Service, Council developed eight proposed projects for allocation of the remaining $983,216 of the Natural Disaster Recovery Funding.

    Of these, five of the projects received strong community support at the community workshop of 11th March 2020 and are proposed for funding as part of the Council report.

    Links to Community Workshop documents, Council report and meeting information.

    To view the powerpoint presentation and photos of the boards with priorities from those present at the 11th March 2020 Community Workshop click here.

    To view the Council report (GM 20/08) and details of the recommended projects and proposed final program of works click here.

    To find out how to listen to the Council meeting (starts 5pm Thursday 26th March 2020) or find out about the meeting arrangements at the Chamber due to the COVID 19 pandemic click here,

    UPDATE: There will be no public gallery facility at the Council Meeting on Thursday, March 26th following the announcement that public access to Council’s offices has been temporarily suspended as a precaution to help reduce the risk of Coronavirus Covid-19 infection.

    People can still listen to the Council Meeting by connecting to Coffs Harbour City Council on Mixlr or via the free Mixlr app for android or iPhone/iPad devices. Simply install the Mixlr app then search for Coffs Harbour City Council. Audio recordings of Council Meetings are also available on SoundCloud the Monday after the draft minutes are published on Council's website – www.coffsharbour.nsw.gov.au

  • Council announces first Bushfire Recovery Funding Allocations and Rebuilding Fee Relief

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    Initial discussions with Orara Valley residents and businesses affected by bushfires late last year have led to a preliminary list of recovery-related initiatives to be funded by the Australian Government’s $1m grant to all bushfire-hit communities.

    A public meeting in Nana Glen of residents, government agencies, businesses and representatives from Council and the Red Cross on January 28 identified a number of short and longer-term measures to help the Orara Valley community in its recovery.

    An Interim Program of Works worth $416,784 was agreed.

    These were:
    Nana Glen Community Hall – installation of solar panels and air-conditioning, $70,000.
    Community Led Recovery Event – a single whole-of-community event with activities and entertainment to bring everyone together, $50,000.
    Business and Tourism Support – Strategies to attract visitors, $68,000.
    Appointment of a 12-month Community Recovery Officer with experience and skills in disaster recovery, $150,000.
    Lower Bucca Community Preschool for the refurbishment of existing amenities and undercover outdoor area, $78,784.

    Among the more long-term projects suggested were ideas such as improvements to existing infrastructure, a community hub safe place and an emergency equipment storage facility. Some other suggestions were able to be considered as part of ongoing Council and State Government services.

    In addition, investigations are to be undertaken into the upgrading of roads and environmental restoration in the Orara Valley.

    This dedicated ‘Bushfire Recovery Program’ online resource with links to available assistance for affected residents and businesses has also been developed following the meeting in Nana Glen.

    It includes a survey asking for more recovery ideas to encourage continued engagement with the Orara Valley and wider community to work through the best use of the remaining $583,216 of the $1m funds.

    In total, the Rural Fire Service (RFS) Building Impact Assessment listed 17 homes as destroyed by the bushfires with seven damaged. Two facilities and 27 outbuildings were also destroyed and seven outbuildings were damaged, with 41 rural landholders impacted.

    To help with the rebuilding or repair of properties – when the focus starts to turn towards reconstruction – Council will also waive a number of fees and charges relating to construction for people whose property is included in the RFS Building Impact Assessment.

    First published 14 February 2020.

  • BlazeAidHelps to Rebuild Fences in Orara Valley

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    Volunteers from BlazeAid have set-up camp at the Glenreagh Recreation Reserve to help Orara Valley locals recover from the recent bushfires by rebuilding fences.

    Orara Valley residents from both the Coffs Harbour City Council and Clarence Valley Council local government areas are encouraged to register with BlazeAid for assistance with the rebuilding of fences that have been impacted by the 2019 bushfires.

    To be eligible for assistance you will need to register by calling the Glenreagh Camp Coordinator John Lillico on 0484 145 732.

    About BlazeAid

    BlazeAid volunteers offer practical labour and work with families and individuals in rural Australia after natural disasters such as fires and floods. Equally importantly, the volunteers also aim to help lift the spirits of those who have been impacted. BlazeAid volunteers often work in a disaster-affected area for many months helping rebuild the local communities.

    BlazeAid is a volunteer organisation which relies on the support of local communities to provide volunteers who have the capacity to offer their time to work with their regular teams.

    If you or your organisation can help, please contact the camp coordinator, John Lillico. For more information on Blazeaid and its work, go to: blazeaid.com.au

    First published on 19 February 2020.

Page last updated: 27 August 2021, 17:06