FIVE of the region's bushfire stricken communities are set to benefit from immediate support from the federal government.
Armidale, Walcha, Inverell, Glen Innes Severn and Tenterfield councils are among 42 local governments across the country to receive $1 million of immediate financial support.
The funds can be used to rebuild damaged or destroyed council assets, such as key local roads, bridges, and community facilities, as well to employ additional local staff to take on specialist recovery or planning roles to help co-ordinate and plan the rebuilding effort.
Councils can also use the funds to host new public activities and events to bring communities together, and for immediate maintenance and repairs to relief and evacuation centres.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the funds were "just the start" of the government's support of bushfire affected communities.
"These payments will provide immediate assistance directly into the hands of local councils to rebuild roads and infrastructure, employ staff to help in recovery activities and hold events which bring the community together and bring tourists back to town," Mr Morrison said.
"We are moving immediately to support local councils and our funding will be in state government bank accounts by tomorrow.
"Importantly this is a base payment and just the start of our support for local communities, in what we know will be a long recovery."
Funding will be directed to councils which have been 'activated' by their respective state government for Category C bushfire disaster recovery relief under the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA).
Payments will not require matched funding from state governments.
Currently there are 40 councils across Australia in receipt of Category C assistance, including 33 in New South Wales, five in Queensland and two in South Australia.
Funding will also be provided to the local government areas of East Gippsland and Towong in Victoria, in recognition of an imminent request from the Victorian government for Category C assistance for these severely impacted regions.
All funds will be drawn from the $2 billion allocated to the National Bushfire Recovery Agency and this is in addition to funding that is automatically available to councils through other disaster recovery arrangements.
The lump sum payments will be delivered by the Commonwealth by the close of business tomorrow to state governments who administer payments to councils.
The only condition placed on councils is that they develop a program of works within three months and report back to the Commonwealth in 12 months' time.
Councils to receive assistance:
- Bega Valley
- Blue Mountains
- Central Coast
- Clarence Valley
- Glen Innes Severn
- Port Macquarie-Hastings
- Richmond Valley
- Snowy Monaro
- Snowy Valleys
- Scenic Rim
- Southern Downs
- Sunshine Coast
- Adelaide Hills
- Kangaroo Island