Disaster assistance is now available for communities in the Armidale, Clarence Valley, Glen Innes, Inverell, Tenterfield, Uralla and Walcha Local Government Areas that have been affected by bushfires since 31 August 2019.
Assistance is being provided through the jointly funded Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA).
Speaking from Tenterfield, Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce, said he had been contact with the Prime Minister about the seriousness of the disaster.
“I’ve been on the fire ground today where I listened to emergency services, evacuees, residents and Tenterfield mayor Peter Petty, and then conveyed their concerns to Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack and Minister David Littleproud. I applaud their quick response to our request for assistance to the community affected by bushfires.”
Minister for Natural Disaster and Emergency Management David Littleproud said the Commonwealth and NSW governments were working together to provide support.
“These are sever fires. They’ve been fuelled by strong winds and have burnt through thousands of hectares of land threatening life and communities,” Minister Littleproud said.
“A range of support options are available to help people who have been affected by these fires along with funding for the ongoing response.
“The speed at which these fires moved shows the need for communities to stay vigilant and to have a plan, especially as we try to bring them under control.”
The New South Wales Minister for Police and Emergency Services, the Hon David Elliott MP said significant firefighting operations are continuing in response to the bushfires.
“Our fire fighters are doing a tremendous job keeping these communities safe. They acted swiftly and continue to update local residents about the ongoing emergency response,” Minister Elliott said.
“The NSW Rural Fire Service have battled blazes during incredibly challenging weather conditions, and deployed hundreds of firefighters, appliances and aircraft to combat the fires, and I know everyone is incredibly grateful for those efforts.
“Our thoughts too are with the families and businesses who’ve come under threat, some of whom have lost properties too. It’s a devastating experience, and our hope is that this assistance will ease some of the burden you’re now facing.”
Assistance measures available under the DRFA may include:
Help for people whose homes or belongings have been damaged.
Support for affected local councils to help clean up and reconstruction costs.
Concessional interest rate loans for small businesses, primary producers and non-profit organisations.
Freight subsidies for primary producers.
Financial grants to eligible non-profit organisations.
For information on personal hardship and distress assistance, contact the Disaster Welfare Assistance Line on 1800 018 444 from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm Monday to Friday. To apply for a concessional loan, grant or freight subsidy, contact the NSW Rural Assistance Authority on 1800 678 593 or visit www.raa.nsw.gov.au.
Further information on disaster assistance is at disasterassist.gov.au and the NSW emergency information and response website at emergency.nsw.gov.au.