Community resilience spending deadlines pushed out to March

Tenterfield Fire & Rescue personnel joined Banbai Rangers and Moonbahlene staff on the cool fire ground at Tenterfield Park in August, during workshops supported by the Bushfire Community Recovery and Resilience Fund.
Tenterfield Fire & Rescue personnel joined Banbai Rangers and Moonbahlene staff on the cool fire ground at Tenterfield Park in August, during workshops supported by the Bushfire Community Recovery and Resilience Fund.

Tenterfield's $250,000 allocation of Stream 1 funding for Phase 1 of the Bushfire Community Recovery and Resilience Fund (BCRRF) continues to be spent where possible, although a flexible approach has been adopted given the difficulties of getting projects completed by the original December 31 deadline.

Each of the village halls is receiving $10,000 (upped to $25,000 for Tenterfield township), initially for community events, workshops or training opportunities aimed at building community resilience and wellbeing.

Council's economic development & community engagement manager Harry Bolton said several of the progress associations have now opted to spend the money on structural improvements and upgrading facilities instead, given the restrictions on gatherings. Deadlines have also been extended to March 31.

Other items being funded from the grant are:

  • $50,000 for a Torrington Hall evacuation centre,
  • $45,000 for business chamber economic recovery initiatives,
  • $20,000 for cultural burning workshops (which were completed in Tenterfield Park last month), and
  • $10,000 for a drought/bushfire concert.

The concert is proposed to bring the community together at the Tenterfield Showground. Mr Bolton doubts it can happen this year, given not only the crowd restrictions but also the lead time required to line up performers. It's a more likely prospect for early next year, possibly around the time of the Tenterfield Show.

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Applications for Stream 2 funding opened this week and allow for more immediate funding to flow to local councils, community groups and not-for-profit organisations, while still supporting communities with medium and longer-term projects.

While council is keen to put up its hand for any funding opportunity, Mr Bolton said the strict criteria for complying projects presents a challenge.

Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management David Littleproud welcomed this support for locally-led recovery.

"The Australian Government continues its commitment to bushfire impacted communities on their journey to recovery. Australia's bushfire impacted communities have displayed the most amazing resilience to firstly withstand the onslaught of the Black Summer bushfires and secondly to work so hard to rebuild their lives from it," Minister Littleproud said.

"The importance of community-led recovery cannot be underestimated. It's through the work and ideas of local communities that recovery is achieved and resilience is strengthened.

"Under long standing joint Commonwealth/state funding arrangements this funding allows communities to invest in projects that will directly benefit recovery efforts and help communities across New South Wales build back better.

"Each community faces a different set of circumstances and recovery needs. I look forward to seeing a range and diversity of projects come to fruition by the people who have experienced these fires" Minister Littleproud said.

Acting Deputy Premier and Minister responsible for Disaster Recovery, Paul Toole, said the NSW Government is continuing to deliver targeted support to help communities recover from the Black Summer Bushfires.

"We know that community-led recoveries provide the best chance for people to get back on their feet and for towns to come out the other end of a tragedy with even greater resilience and hope for the future," Mr Toole said.

"I am truly touched by the resilience I've seen from people who have faced unimaginable hardship right across NSW and it is a testament to every individual who makes up our regional communities.

"I'm pleased to say Stream 1 will provide $100,000 or $250,000 grants to local councils to support locally-led social recovery activities.

"Stream 2 will provide grants for social recovery and preparedness projects, which could include education programs about how to best prepare for future hazards and community activities to bring people together.

"My message to our bushfire affected towns is that we are with you for the long haul."

This brings the total BCRRF to over $35 million jointly funded by the Commonwealth and NSW under Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements and is in addition to measures supported through the National Bushfire Recovery Fund. The BCRRF is administered by Resilience NSW.