President's Message 10 January 2020

Cr Linda ScottIt’s been a challenging start to 2020 for so many and I want to acknowledge the extraordinary work of the many mayors, councillors and council staff across the State.

For those of you battling bushfires and drought, we recognise the threat is not over yet, and we’re pulling together all the support we can.  

If we’ve learnt anything from this bushfire disaster it is the power of community and the importance of rallying together to get us through tough times. 

Thank you to the many councils from across the state offering their help to bushfire-affected councils and their communities.  

Alongside ALGA we’ve advocated on your behalf, and I’m pleased to let you know note the Federal and NSW governments have committed the following:

  • An initial $60 million in Federal funding for 42 of the most severely bushfire-affected local government areas, 33 of which are in NSW. This includes the immediate release of an initial $1 million to each council and the promise of further funds to be distributed in cooperation between National Bushfire Recovery Coordinator Andrew Colvin, the NSW government and local councils. 
  • Minister for Local Government Shelley Hancock has guaranteed the NSW government will distribute funds to councils within one business day it clears the State’s bank account. Refer to media release
  • The NSW government has also announced $1 billion (in addition to $231 million already committed) over the next two years to rebuild bushfire-impacted communities. This funding will prioritise the repair, rebuild and improvement to infrastructure such as roads, rail lines, bridges, schools, health facilities and communications facilities that have been damaged or destroyed by bushfires. The government has also waived the waste levy fee in bushfire natural disaster areas. 

National coordination

Local, state and federal governments are also working together to plan and fund the rebuild efforts and the huge task of supporting bushfire affected councils to coordinate and resource clean-up and recovery.

We welcome National Recovery Coordinator Andrew Colvin APM OAM who will lead the Federal Government’s National Bushfire Recovery Agency – part of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and reporting to Minister for Natural Disaster and Emergency Management David Littleproud.

The agency is responsible for administering $2 billion over two years via a national bushfire recovery fund. It will act as a “one stop shop”, ensuring the work of state, territory and local governments is being supported in a coordinated way.

For further information email Shaun McBride, LGNSW Chief Economist – Finance and Utilities

Recovery efforts

Bushfire-affected councils require a range of resources, including logistics and communications, tree management, planning, cleaning, waste services, and engineering and infrastructure support.

LGNSW is a member of the Local Government Bushfire Recovery Support Group. We are collecting and coordinating offers of support and directing them to the Office of Emergency Management so it can match your offers of supply to the areas where support is needed, when it is needed.

How your council can help

It is important that all offers of support and coordinated, and duplication minimised. I encourage all non-bushfire affected councils that are able to help to register with the Local Government Bushfire Recovery Support Group by calling 02 9246 7709 or recovery@cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au.

Thank you to the many councils that have already registered. Kudos also to the number of councils that have waived fees for people whose homes and property were destroyed and damaged by bushfires.

Any council grappling with the fire emergency must continue to contact and seek support from the usual State Government channels, such as the Office of Emergency Management.

For further information on the Local Government Bushfire Recovery Support Group, please email Elle Brunsdon, LGNSW Policy Adviser.

Councils are also being represented at the highest levels on emerging recovery issues, with LGNSW staff participating in several committees including the State Recovery Committee, the Health and Wellbeing subcommittee, and the Bushfire Recovery Communications Committee. We are also part of the North Coast and Tablelands Infrastructure Waste and Environment Recovery Sub Committee and a Local Government Bushfire Managers Group.

This edition of the Weekly is also dedicated to bushfire, drought and disaster management resources including the latest community support information published by State agencies. Regular updates from these forums will be provided and I encourage you to refer to our web site