Saffin calls for beefed-up bushfire recovery effort

A COMMUNITY Recovery Fund is needed to allow devastated communities rebuild from the Long Gully Road and Busbys Flat Road bushfires, according to State Member for Lismore Janelle Saffin.

A COMMUNITY Recovery Fund is needed to allow devastated communities rebuild from the Long Gully Road and Busbys Flat Road bushfires, according to State Member for Lismore Janelle Saffin.

Ms Saffin today (Wednesday, October 16) lodged a notice of motion in State Parliament calling for New South Wales and Federal governments to enhance the wonderful efforts of all personnel involved in the bushfire response and recovery.

Ms Saffin said a Community Recovery Fund would help bushfire-affected communities to rebuild and would be led by Tenterfield Shire, Richmond Valley and Clarence Valley councils.

“The general recovery effort would be overseen by a designated and publicly known Recovery Leader who had the chain of command across all government agencies involved in recovery,” Ms Saffin said.

Ms Saffin said Category C assistance should be considered so that local farmers and businesses could receive some cash assistance to replace fences, for starters, and other essential equipment.

Ms Saffin said that with two tragic fatalities and around 70 homes destroyed in the September and October fires, she had been waiting for the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA) to be activated.

“Another element which would greatly assist the recovery effort would be the announcement by the Federal Government of what we call the Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment, a non-means tested one-off payment,” she said.

“Under the NDRRA guidelines, when money goes via the states to local councils a ‘fund first, justify later’ approach to providing financial help is allowable and it is time to activate this at State level.”

Ms Saffin added that she had been perusing the relevant websites, and if any of these actions she had been advocating for were announced in the near future, then she would welcome them.

Ms Saffin also has received feedback from senior Rural Fire Service volunteers that poor two-way radio transmission has hindered firefighting efforts in the field and a technical solution may be able to be found to rectify this problem.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

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