THE Morrison-McCormack Government has committed to support every recommendation in the Royal Commission into National Disaster Arrangements Report for which it is responsible and establish a new National Resilience, Relief and Recovery Agency.
Federal Member for Cowper Pat Conaghan welcomed Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Emergency Management Minister David Littleproud’s commitment to act on the report’s recommendations and said improving the way our country responds to natural disasters is extremely important.
“Our community was hit hard by the Black Summer Bushfires and I know many residents are still recovering,” he said.
“With fires of the magnitude we saw last spring and summer, it’s important the Commonwealth Government can mobilise Commonwealth resources quickly to help tackle the challenges states and local communities face during disasters.
“The Royal Commission’s recommendation for the Australian Government to legislate to give it the power to declare a national emergency will help to achieve this.
“I am also pleased our Government has agreed to support the recommendation to examine engagement with essential services.
“Unreliable mobile phone and telecommunications was probably the top complaint I received from residents and Rural Fire Service (RFS) volunteers during and after the bushfires.
“Some RFS brigades could only communicate by door-knocking and this took up precious time which could have been spent on back-burning and making other preparations to preserve life and property.”
One year on from the bushfires, Mr Conaghan wanted to provide an update on the Federal Government assistance delivered to bushfire-affected residents and Councils in Cowper.
It so far totals $69.5 million.
In Coffs Harbour LGA, for Disaster Recovery Payment to individuals, there have been 7,716 claims granted totalling $9,201,600.
For the Primary producer recovery grant of up to $75,000, there have been 58 claims granted totalling $3,532,508.
Meanwhile $1,300,000 has been delivered in the form of Recovery assistance provided to councils.
In Bellingen LGA, there have been four claims granted for the Primary producer recovery grant, totalling $231,093, while $1,225,000 has been granted to Council.
Across Cowper, a further $1,900,000 has been provided to the region for five wildlife and habitat recovery projects, designed to assist threatened species including frogs, birds, freshwater crayfish and microbats.
Residents and businesses that were severely impacted by bushfire and have not as yet applied for assistance can still do so for most programs – visit the National Bushfire Recovery Agency’s website for more info at https://www.bushfirerecovery.gov.au/recovery-support.