BUSHFIRE RECOVERY // An update from Wingecarribee Shire Council
Oh wow, how time flies when you’re recovering from drought, bushfires, floods and dealing with a global pandemic, right? Sheesh!
Last summer seems like it was light years ago, which is a strange thing to say considering it had such a huge impact on our beautiful region. But when a shire like ours gets hit with one thing after another, life can turn into a bit of time warp.
So, we thought we’d touch base with Wingecarribee Shire Council, check in on the bushfire recovery, and find out what the team dedicated to the logistical, financial, physical and emotional task of supporting Highlanders impacted by the fires have been focused on.
Here’s what they’ve been working on and some good-to-know info for all locals.
As of mid-May, over 50 properties across the Shire had been cleared up by the State Government appointed contractors Laing O’Rourke. This figure includes properties in both the northern and southern villages, and now clean-up crews are making their way into properties along Wombeyan Caves Road in the west.
If you’re a property owner impacted by the fires and you haven’t yet registered for the clean-up, call on 13 77 88 or register online.
Donations being accepted
The Community Recovery Centre at Balmoral Village Hall has reopened to distribute toys, tools and warm clothing to bushfire affected families. Just in time for winter – hooray!!! The centre is currently open 10am-3pm each Wednesday and Sunday. For more information head to the Picton District Branch Country Women’s Association Facebook page – nice one, ladies!!!
Support services available
There is no way of tying a bow around the bushfire crisis and prettying it up in any way. It was hard, stressful, and very traumatic for so many residents. The emotional impact of living through bushfires can continue long after they have been put out (or rained out!).
If you’re feeling stressed, anxious, upset in any way, please know you are not alone and it’s absolutely normal to be feeling this way. Having someone to listen to and support you through this is super-important.
If you or someone you know needs help, reach out. These support services are free and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Mental Health Line – 1800 011 511
Lifeline Bushfire Recovery - 13 43 57
Mensline - 1300 789 978
Kids Helpline - 1800 55 1800
Beyond Blue - 1300 22 4636
ReFrame/You in Mind – 0455 104 104
If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call 000.
Council has waived all Council-related development fees for bushfire affected residents wishing to rebuild. This includes Development Application (DA) and Pre-Lodgement fees, Construction and Complying Development Certificates, Final Occupation Certificates and all plumbing and drainage inspection costs. If you’re experiencing financial difficultires due ot the bushfires, contact Council on 1800 316 500 to discuss payment arrangement options.
There are also State and Federal Grants that bushfire affected residents may be eligible for, so if you haven’t looked into these yet, check them out online here or call 13 77 88.
Commonwealth Government Disaster Recovery Payment // $1,000 per adult and $400 per child is available for people severely affected by bushfires.
Commonwealth Government Disaster Recovery Allowance // This allowance provides short-term income assistance for bushfire affected residents.
NSW Government Disaster Relief Grants // This grant is open to eligible individuals and families whose homes and household contents have been damaged or destroyed. Conditions apply.
Volunteer Firefighters Financial Support // Payments are available for eligible firefighters who are self-employed or employed by a small/medium business and have lost income.
Primary Industries Grants Program // $75,000 recovery grants, concessional loans and transport subsidies for eligible primary producers.
Small Business Grants // Grants of up to $50,000 are available if your business has been directly affected by bushfire. There are also $10,000 loans available for all small businesses in eligible LGAs such as the Wingecarribee Shire.
Business loans // Up to $500,000 is available for eligible businesses.
Motor vehicle stamp duty relief // Financial assistance is available for eligible motorists whose cars have been written off as a result of the bushfires.
For all of those grants and assistance programs above ^^ head to Service NSW's Bushfire Customer Care Service Page or call 13 77 88.
And here are a couple more grants to be aware of.
NEW Local Land Services Supporting our Neighbours // Public land boundary fencing program. The NSW Government has committed $209 million to help bushfire-affected landholders with the cost of rebuilding boundary fences adjoining public lands. Phone 1300 778 080.
Red Cross Grants // Immediate assistance is available for bushfire-affected people in financial hardship. Find out more.
Keep up to date with the latest Southern Highlands bushfire recovery news and information by heading to Wingecarribee Shire Council’s Bushfire Recovery Website.