Bushfire Assistance

Lithgow Bushfire Recovery Service Drop-In Centre to recommence in July

Council is pleased to announce that we will be recommencing the Bushfire Mobile Recovery Service Drop-In Centre at the Lithgow Library on Thursday 2 July at 3pm. 

Residents of the Lithgow Local Government Area who have been impacted by the 2019 bushfires are encouraged to visit the Lithgow Bushfire Recovery Service at the Library.  You will be able to obtain the latest information, enquire about assistance and ask questions about bushfire recovery.

This “one-stop-shop” service will be held at the Lithgow Library, 157 Main Street, Lithgow every Thursday commencing from 2 July between 3 – 5pm.

Representatives from State Government agencies, health care, and charitable organisations will be there to listen and advise on available options to assist with bushfire recovery.  Council’s Customer Service staff will also be available to assist with enquiries.  The service is provided for one-on-one enquiries about bushfire recovery. 

If you need bushfire recovery assistance and cannot attend the “Drop-in Centre”, please call Service NSW customer care on 13 77 88.

Apply for the NSW Get Ready Community Award

The NSW Get Ready Community Award will recognise a community that has worked together to help the community better prepare for, respond to or recover from a disaster. Applications are open until July 5 at emergency.nsw.gov.au/getreadyaward.

Applications are open to initiatives that have been completed as well as work underway or ongoing.

The term ‘community’ can refer to a particular town or region, or a group of people that have something in common.

An awards ceremony will be held in September/October, in conjunction with the Resilient Australia Awards: the date, location and ceremony format dependent on COVID-19 restrictions.

Inquiries:

Visit emergency.nsw.gov.au/getreadyaward

Email GetReadyNSW@justice.nsw.gov.au

Media Announcement from NSW Government – $140 million program opens for bushfire impacted forestry, horticulture and agriculture industries.

Bushfire-impacted dairy farmers, fruit growers and forestry businesses are set to benefit from recovery funding to help them get back on their feet and back to work, thanks to the NSW Government’s $140 million Bushfire Industry Recovery Package.

Deputy Premier and Minister responsible for Disaster Recovery John Barilaro said targeted grants would be available to help the forestry, horticulture, apiculture, aquaculture, viticulture and dairy industries retain and create jobs and support them to rebuild, recover and regrow.

“Funding will be available in two streams, with an initial focus on supply chain support grants that will help cover the cost of resuming and maintaining production,” Mr Barilaro said.

Supply chain support grants are available for activities such as:

  • Clean up of damaged orchard equipment or replacing trees, trellises and netting;
  • Repair of vineyards directly damaged by bushfire, including site clean-up;
  • Beekeepers purchasing pollen, pollen subsitutes or sugar to feed their hives;
  • Purchasing oyster spat to replace oysters killed due to ash or fireground run-off;
  • Re-establishing dairy pastures, herd rebuilding and buying or replacing lost fodder;
  • Haulage and storage of burnt forestry timber.

“The second funding stream for sector development grants would support projects that helped affected industries create new jobs, build industry sustainability, increase value-add production and support supply-chain efficiencies.

“One month ago we announced $140 million in funding for our most bushfire affected industries and since then we’ve worked with them directly to design the specific assistance needed to get businesses back on their feet and foster long-term recovery.

“We are providing grants to ensure these key driver industries can continue to generate jobs and economic growth for rural and regional NSW, because bushfire impacted towns that are now enduring COVID-19 cannot afford further job losses and economic downturn.

“We are also backing projects that will boost future industry resilience, things like adopting new manufacturing processes, technology upgrades, productivity improvements for cooperative facilities and industry wide marketing campaigns.”
Minister for Agriculture Adam Marshall said primary producers were still reeling from bushfires which decimated properties and farming enterprises right across NSW, sending shockwaves through the agricultural sector.

“By funding projects that focus on getting primary producers back up and running, we are turbocharging the recovery process, which is exactly what farmers need right now with many
still battling through drought as well,” Mr Marshall said.

“It’s going to be a long road to recovery, but the NSW Government will be there every step of the way to make sure our primary producers get the support they need.

“This package is in addition to the more than $80 million that has already been put back into farmers’ pockets through the Special Disaster Grant program, which gives bushfire-affected farmers access to a one-off payment of up to $75,000 to assist with recovery.”

Applications are now open. For more information, including how to apply, important deadlines, program guidelines and eligibility critiera, please visit www.nsw.gov.au/bushfire-industry-recovery-package

View  NSW Government’s $140 million Bushfire Industry Recovery Package.

Land values for bushfire affected communities

To support communities affected by the recent summer bushfires, Lithgow City Council has accepted an offer from the Valuer-General to receive a new valuation list for 1 July 2020 land values.

Since 1 July 2019 land values were determined, many communities have been devastated by the summer bushfires.

The 1 July 2019 land values recently issued to councils were determined before the recent bushfires occurred. This means that the values do not reflect any impact of the fires. Many residents have suffered property damage, lost homes, businesses and farm buildings since the 1 July 2019 land values were determined.

Property sales evidencing the impact of the bushfires in the year to date are currently limited. The Valuer-General has commissioned a study of the impact of previous bushfires on land values in NSW which will form the basis for a 1 July 2020 revaluation.

Analysis indicates that there are three variables to be considered when determining the impact of bushfires on 1 July 2020 land values, being:

  • the number of properties destroyed as a proportion of the total number of properties in the locality;
  • the prevailing level of demand for vacant land in the locality before the bushfires; and
  • the specific location of the subject property within the locality.

In the circumstances of the recent bushfires, the Valuer-General concluded that a reduction in the existing 1 July 2019 land values by up to 30% is appropriate depending on an assessment of the above three key variables in each locality.

It is important to note that changes in land value from the 1 July 2020 revaluation will be effective for the rating year commencing on 1 July 2021.

 

Bushfire Relief Funding for Winmalee Neighbourhood Centre

Winmalee Neighbourhood Centre’s Support with Dignity Program has been provided additional funding from the Federal Government for bushfire affected areas and is part of the Government’s $2 billion National Bushfire Recovery Fund.

The Centre currently provides crisis support in the bushfire affected areas however this now allows a pool of dedicated funding to go directly to those whose homes were damaged or destroyed.

The centre is looking forward to be working with Lithgow City Council to ensure our services are available wherever you are located to receive this much needed assistance. Our experience in disaster recovery acknowledges that a range of assistance measures are required to support people affected by bushfires. These are aimed at providing support recovery with the provision of food, clothing, fuel vouchers and support to pay bills.

A range of relief and recovery assistance is available and each individual’s need/s will be taken into account. Although at this current time we have had to alter how we deliver our crisis support we still provide a non-judgmental, and confidential service that maintains the dignity of the individuals we assist.

To find out how we can assist you please phone: (02) 4754 4050

Media Announcements from NSW Government

Small Business Support Grants

If your small business has experienced a significant decline in revenue as a result of the NSW 2019-2020 bushfires (beginning in August 2019), and it's located within a specified Local Government Area (LGA), you may be eligible for the $10,000 small business support grant.

The application process for this grant has been simplified so eligible small businesses can access funds as quickly as possible.

The grant may be used for, but is not limited to:

  • meeting standard business costs, including utilities, salaries and rent
  • seeking financial advice to support the recovery of the business
  • adjusting the business to be viable in the changed local context following the bushfires 
  • developing the business and extending business reach through marketing and communications activities, or 
  • improvements to make the business more resilient to future disasters.

Businesses can apply for the grant here: https://www.service.nsw.gov.au/transaction/apply-small-business-bushfire-support-grant

 

Temporary Accommodation Solution for Bushfire Affected Communities

The NSW Government is partnering with Andrew and Nicola Forrest’s Minderoo Foundation to provide more than 100 standalone temporary accommodation pods to assist bushfire-affected communities get back on their feet.

View Media Release Temporary Accommodation Solution for Bushfire Affected Communities

Free Training to Help Bushfire Impacted Communities

Communities in bushfire-affected areas will have access to fee-free training courses to support the clean-up and recovery operation following the recent bushfires across NSW.  The training will be delivered by TAFE NSW and other providers, and will include skills such as tree felling, rural fencing, asbestos awareness and forklift operations.

View Media Release - Free Training to Assist Bushfire Impacted Communities

NSW Bushfire Inquiry/Royal Commission

 NSW  bushfire inquiry

Dave Owens APM, former Deputy Commissioner of NSW Police, and Professor Mary O’Kane AC, Independent Planning Commission Chair and former NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer, are leading the inquiry, which is reviewing the causes of, preparation for and response to the 2019-20 bushfires. The Terms of Reference are available at https://www.nsw.gov.au/improving-nsw/projects-and-initiatives/make-a-submission-to-the-bushfire-inquiry/nsw-independent-bushfire-inquiry-terms-of-reference/.

Submissions to the Inquiry are now open, and feedback can be provided in a number of ways:

  • Online form: www.nsw.gov.au/bushfiresubmissions
  • Email: inquiries@bushfireinquiry.nsw.gov.au
  • Post: NSW Independent Bushfire Inquiry, GPO Box 5341, Sydney NSW 2001
  • Phone: If you have limited computer or internet access you can make a submission over the phone by calling the Bushfire Customer Care program on 13 77 88
  • In-person: at any Service NSW Service Centre or at a Mobile Service Centre

Submissions to the NSW Bushfire Inquiry are open until Friday 27 March 2020.

Council Bushfire Recovery Assistance

At the 13 January 2020 Extraordinary Meeting, Council resolved to implement a number of bushfire recovery assistance measures.

Council is now offering the following assistance measures for bushfire affected residents:

  • Relief from domestic waste charges for properties where dwellings were fire damaged.
  • A rebate for water usage charges during the bush fire crisis (upon application).
  • The waiver of fees for Development Applications and associated charges for replacement dwellings if such costs are not covered by insurance or properties were not insured.
  • Hardship rates relief to extend the due date for payment without incurring interest. Extended payment terms will be offered to bush fire affected residents, self-employed RFS volunteers and affected small businesses upon application.

Further information will be provided on each of the measures as administrative processes are developed, to ensure that residents can easily access all of the assistance measures.

 

NSW Suppliers Register

Due to the recent bushfires, the NSW Government would like to hear from any local businesses in regions affected by bushfires, that are able to provide goods and services to their community.

The NSW Government is establishing a supplier list that covers all kinds of goods or services.

Registration will be easy with just a few simple questions on a portal. Everyone is welcome to apply.

The purpose of this portal is to connect buyers with regional suppliers and vice versa. It assists buyers to give first preference to an appropriate local supplier based in the same region. Any information gathered that is not commercial-in-confidence will be publicly available on the Procure Point website so everyone can access it.

Buyers: If you are a NSW Government buyer (including private hospitals, local councils, non-profit organisations, educational institutes and public authorities), or a private buyer you can use this platform to provide information about your needs and the programs you have carried out of bushfire recovery work.

Register now on:

http://tenders.nsw.gov.au/?c=1B1FB6AE

Public Works Advisory:

Contractors wishing to register your interest in cleanup work contact or register with:

constructionselection@finance.nsw.gov.au

The supplier listing is an initiative of the NSW Government.

The NSW Government's Emergency website provides general information about emergency management in NSW, including recovery information and what services may be offered and how they are provided.

Council services will be advertised on this page and other media as they arise.

After an emergency

  • Be prepared to look after yourself if help does not come immediately.
  • Stay up to date. Keep watching and listening and look at what is going on around you. Share this information with your family, friends and community.
  • In a major emergency, the NSW Government's Emergency website will provide you with important information on what to do after an emergency. It may advise you when an evacuation order has been lifted and you are allowed to return home, what you should do when you do return home (such as health information), provide details on financial assistance that may be available to you, recovery centres that may be open in your area and more.
  • Fire damaged sites may not be safe. Caution is required. 
    As much as you would like to enter the site do not do so until it has been made safe. There is potential for asbestos, dangers from unfenced pools and collapsed septic tanks. Burnt out trees are also an issue. If you think your property has been impacted by bush fire call us on (02) 6354 9999 for more information and to register for services.
  • Check on your neighbours and any vulnerable people in your community, including older people and those with disabilities or special needs.
  • Seek medical attention. If you have been hurt contact the emergency services and advise if they are able to get to your house.
  • Consider your animals. The welfare of your pets and livestock is your responsibility. Assistance may be available.
  • Contact your insurance company to discuss your policy and file your claim.

 

Dealing with Hazards and Waste from Bushfire Damaged Properties

How to deal with immediate hazards and waste generated from property loss is often one of the first questions that arise for property owners who have been affected by catastrophic bushfires and Lithgow Council is now planning for this phase of the emergency response.  

In response to the latest catastrophic fires Council is seeking to provide guidance and information to those who have lost buildings or experienced property damage.  The following information is provided as initial guidance for the upcoming cleanup phase.

Firstly, initial safety should be considered.  Before returning to your property after a bushfire, consider the following precautions to protect your health:

  • do not enter your property until you are advised that it is safe to do so by emergency services or utility services
  • electrical hazards could exist such as live power lines that may be down or active solar panels
  • buildings and other structures may be unstable to enter or walk over
  • be aware that hot, smoldering coals and other potentially hazardous materials may be hidden under the rubble
  • Buildings built before 1987 may contain asbestos in the form of flat or corrugated sheets (fibro) used for walls, ceilings, roofing or in products such as pipes.  Appropriate precautions and use of Personal Protective Equipment (eg P2 masks) is necessary.
  • Wear sturdy footwear and heavy duty work gloves to protect you from being cut by broken glass, standing on sharp objects or getting burnt by smoldering coals
  • Wear protective overalls (with long sleeves and trousers). If convenient, wear disposable coveralls and throw them out with the site waste after use. Any non-disposable clothing should be cleaned/laundered prior to reuse, including footwear

For those who have lost homes, and immediately associated outbuildings, assessment is now underway through NSW Fire and Rescue and Public Works.  Then for waste disposal from demolition there are two pathways depending whether or not the home is insured. 

For insured homes that have been damaged or destroyed, insurance companies will generally arrange clean-up and removal of bushfire debris. It is understood that the NSW Government will provide financial assistance to ensure any extraordinary clean-up costs do not result in a reduction in the insured amount for rebuilding. This additional assistance will be made available through insurers.  If the property is insured, fire-affected residents should continue to work with their insurers on clean-up.

For uninsured homes that have been damaged or destroyed, Council understands that Public Works Advisory can arrange for the clean-up and removal of bushfire debris from residences and immediately adjacent outbuildings, including the removal of asbestos and concrete slabs.   If your property is uninsured, then you should contact Public Works Advisory on 1800 88 55 39 to discuss clean-up.

Council also recognises that other properties have suffered less significant damage and property owners wish to undertake clean-ups themselves and take small loads of waste to landfill.  This can be accommodated for Lithgow Local Government Area residents who may take domestic quantities (eg trailer loads) to the Lithgow Solid Waste Facility at no charge.  Residents should advise the weighbridge officer of the address where the bushfire waste originated. 

Further information on dealing with hazards from bushfire clean-ups including asbestos may be found on the following links:

https://www.safework.nsw.gov.au/resource-library/property-hazards-following-a-bushfire-fact-sheet

 

https://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/~/media/EPA/Corporate%20Site/resources/waste/150044-asbestos-fire-damaged-buildings.ashx

 

 

Australian Bank Hardship Teams

ABA assistance

If you’re dealing with the impact of the bushfires there are practical ways your bank can help.

Australian banks have hardship teams ready to assist homeowners, small business owners and volunteers with financial arrangements, depending on circumstances.  Assistance could include:
• deferred loan payments
• waiving fees and charges
• helping with debt consolidation
• waiving penalties for early withdrawal of a term deposit
• deferring upcoming credit card payments
• increasing emergency credit card limits

Call your bank today or find your bank’s hardship team at: www.ausbanking.org.au/doingittough

Register to opt in to the NSW bushfire clean-up

The NSW Government and the Commonwealth are covering the full cost of cleaning up eligible NSW properties that have been destroyed by bushfires since 1 July 2019.  To register or for further information click link below.

https://www.service.nsw.gov.au/transaction/register-opt-nsw-bushfire-clean

COVID-19 and recovery support for bushfire-impacted communities

The Office of Emergency Management have released a statement regarding COVID-19 and recovery support for bushfire-impacted communities

COVID 19 and the impact on bushfire affected communities

Bush Fire Recovery Clean-up Information

The NSW Government and the Commonwealth are jointly covering the clean-up cost of insured and uninsured residential and eligible commercial (small business and primary production) properties destroyed in the NSW bushfires since 1 July 2019.

For more information on how to register:

View Bushfire Recovery Cleanup Information for Property Owners

NSW Bushfire Clean-up Info Hub ( https://cleanup.lnbr.com.au/ ).

Bush Fire Recovery Guide

Council has developed a guide to all the services and support that is available to those affected by the recent bushfires.

View Bushfire Recovery Guide

Options Available for Ratepayers Affected by Bushfires

Lithgow City Council is able to provide residents who have been affected by the recent bushfire crisis with assistance for the remainder of the 2019/2020 financial period and further if required.

View Options Available for Ratepayers Affected by Bushfires

Repairs and Rebuilding after Bushfires

Council's building and Development team have developed this fact sheet for those who have had property affected by the bushfires.

View  Re-building and repairing buildings damaged by bushfires - Information Sheet

Disaster Relief Grants

The Office of Emergency Management can provide disaster relief grants to eligible individuals and families whose homes and essential household contents have been damaged or destroyed by a disaster. 

Download the Disaster Relief Grants Fact Sheet or contact the Disaster Welfare Assistance Line on 1800 018 444. The DWAL is open 8:30 till 4:30 Monday to Friday but with extended days during disasters, currently operating 7 days a week

 

View Disaster Relief Grants For household contents and structural repairs fact sheet

Mental Health Assistance

Mental Health Assistance for people impacted by fires and drought:

Rural Adversity Mental Health Program – Local Coordinator

Sonia Cox - 0448 125 676

Sonia.Cox@health.nsw.gov.au

www.nbmphn.com.au/Community/Bushfire-Support

Free counselling and additional mental health support for individuals, families and emergency services workers affected by the bushfires.

www.humanservices.gov.au/individuals/subjects/how-get-mental-health-support

Mental health support for bushfire affected communities

www.lifeinmindaustralia.com.au/mental-health-support-for-bushfire-affected-communities

Step by Step Recovery Support Services

Recovery from bushfires is a step by step process.  It can help to have someone walk with you for part of the journey.

Step by Step workers can provide you with support:

  • Accessing grants and payments
  • Dealing with paperwork and applications
  • Being linked with recovery services and assistance
  • Dealing with insurance
  • Getting emotional support
  • Being kept informed about recovery assistance
  • Having someone to talk with who understands

To speak with a Step by Step worker call: 0417 298 832

Or email: stepbystep@gatewayfamilyservices.org.au
Monday - Saturday 9am-6pm

Support from NSW Land Registry Services

NSW Land Registry Services is offering landholders affected by the recent bushfires with access to the title searches and plan images of their property free of charge. Property searches and plans can assist landholders with insurance claims and development applications to council, as well as provide peace of mind regarding land ownership following natural disasters.

We invite affected landholders to call our Contact Centre on 1300 396 076 or (02) 8776 3575 and we can discuss how best to assist. Details of the support available are on our website 
NSW LRS support for landholders affected by NSW bushfires

Fire affected land managers – stock and infrastructure assistance

 

Local Land Services (LLS) team are on the ground to help connect land managers with the services and support they need right now.100

 

Local Land Services with the Department of Primary Industries are particularly focussed on animal welfare and are running the Agriculture and Animal Services Hotline - 1800 814 647.

Fire affected land managers can report stock losses and infrastructure damage, request animal assessment, or request emergency fodder or water for stock, by calling the Agricultural and Animal Services Hotline on 1800 814 647.  Fodder distribution points are now open across the South East. Please call the hotline to register and only present to a fodder distribution point when advised to.

Bushfire Recovery Assistance

A range of assistance measures are available to support people affected by bushfires. These are aimed at providing for immediate and short term needs, to support recovery from the bushfires across NSW.
Please note, a number of these measures have eligibility requirements.

View Bushfire Recovery Assistance Factsheet

Natural Disaster Grants for Primary Producers – Rural Assistance Authority

In severe circumstances, grants may be provided to eligible primary producers to contribute towards the costs of:
a) clean-up, removal of debris and disposal of dead livestock;
b) repair or replacement (purchase or hire/lease) of damaged assets such as farm buildings and essential plant and equipment (excluding housing).
c) salvaging crops, health maintenance of livestock and poultry; and
d) fencing, pasture restoration, and infrastructure (including access and internal roads).

View Natural Disaster Grants for Primary Producers Guidelines

Lions Australia Bushfire Relief Assistance

The Lions Club of Lithgow can provide bushfire assistance, including grants, to residents affected by bushfires. 

For assistance, please contact Susan Eckford, Lions Club of Lithgow Secretary, 0408 026 275, lithgowlionsclub@gmail.com

Assistance is available from Lions Club for the provision of essential household items to assist people affected by the bushfires moving into temporary or permanent accommodation. The assistance can be used for items including whitegoods, bedding, kitchen items etc.

For more information, please contact Bill Neubeck, Lithgow Lions Club, phone 0438 234 336 or email williamvneubeck@bigpond.com