MORE BUSHFIRE FUNDING FOR SUNSHINE COAST

Sunshine Coast Council will receive further bushfire recovery funding from a $17million fund through the Federal Government’s new National Bushfire Recovery Agency.

Member for Fairfax Ted O’Brien said the latest round of funding was to help Councils lead the recovery at a local level.

“As a nation, we have endured our most severe bushfire season in living memory and for communities here on the Sunshine Coast, the threat to homes, families and livelihoods was experienced first-hand,” Mr O’Brien said.

“Sunshine Coast Council has been allocated an additional $275,000, on top of the $1million already received,” he said.

The Federal Government made the funding available through the National Bushfire Recovery Agency which made an independent decision about where the money should be allocated.

“The Agency looked at a range of factors including population, disaster recovery payments already received, the area burnt and socio-economic factors of the council area,” Mr O’Brien said.

LGAs can use the funding for rebuilding council infrastructure such as roads, bridges, and community facilities, or hosting activities that bring communities together.

Sunshine Coast Council Mayor Mark Jamieson welcomed the announcement of the additional bushfire recovery funding from the Federal Government.

 "On behalf of our Council, I want to commend the Morrison Government for the approach it has taken with its additional bushfire recovery assistance measures, which gives councils the responsibility to determine how the money is allocated within their communities,” Mayor Jamieson said.

“Coupled with the $1million we received in January, Council will work with its partner agencies involved in disaster management and recovery to determine the best use of this funding to meet local needs,” he said.

In all, the 60 councils where Category C assistance was activated as of 24 January 2020 were eligible for the additional funding which ranges from $200,000 to $416,667.

Mr O’Brien said the Federal Government was committed to helping communities recover.

“I have spoken to many people in Peregian Springs, Peregian Breeze and Peregian Beach about their experiences,” Mr O’Brien said. “And while all but Pam Murphy are back in their homes, the memories are still raw for many, and not surprisingly, there’s a mental health toll which comes with fleeing your home under threat.”

“As such, we have introduced a raft of mental health support measures including Medicare rebated psychological therapy sessions for bushfire affected individuals which can be accessed through their GP.

“I have also spoken at length with local rural fire fighters, emergency and evacuation centre coordinators, support charities and Kabi Kabi indigenous elders so that the lessons from these catastrophic fires can already start being considered.

“Likewise, in my role as Chair of the Environment and Energy Committee, charged with a Parliamentary Inquiry into land management practices and their effect on the intensity and frequency of bushfires, our first hearings around the country began this week and the Inquiry will remain open for submissions until March 31.

“Quite simply, we cannot allow our country to burn like this again,” Mr O’Brien said.

For more information about the Inquiry or to make a submission head to https://www.aph.gov.au/vegetationandlandmanagement