Kempsey Shire Council have welcomed the Federal Government's announcement of a million dollars to help the community recover from the devastating Carrai East bushfire.
It was announced yesterday that 42 of the most severely bushfire-impacted councils in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Queensland will receive the initial and immediate base payment of $1 million from the Bushfire Recovery Agency to help quickly rebuild vital infrastructure and strengthen community resilience.
All five of the councils in the electorate of Cowper will receive the payment to help communities get back on their feet.
Kempsey Shire Council general manager Craig Milburn said council will work with the community to determine where the funding is needed the most.
"The announcement of $1 million is very welcome," he said.
"It won't cover all of the recovery costs, but it will definitely help.
"Council will talk with the community on what the priorities are for the funding so that we can ensure it will be the most beneficial to the whole community."
Over 50 homes were destroyed in the Carrai East bushfire when the blaze burnt through Willawarrin and surrounding areas in November of last year.
"Up river was the area that was directly impacted by the bushfire, but it has had a flow on effect to the whole community of the Macleay," Mr Milburn said.
"We want this funding to be spread out across the community to where it's needed and we need to be sure it will be shared as well."
We're all in this together and we want to make sure the funding is distributed as effectively as we can so that it benefits the whole community.Craig Milburn
Federal Member for Cowper Pat Conaghan also welcomed the funding allocation and said it will help the region's families, farmers and businesses recover.
"This funding is being immediately directed to councils to rebuild roads and infrastructure, employ staff to help in recovery activities and hold events which bring the community together," he said.
"Mayors and councillors are extremely close to their communities and have in-depth knowledge of how the recent bushfires have impacted residents, infrastructure and community assets.
"Directing some of the Bushfire Recovery Agency's money to councils will therefore help our region to recover as quickly as possible."
The councils in the electorate of Cowper benefiting from the funding are Port Macquarie-Hastings Council, Kempsey Shire Council, Nambucca Valley Council, Coffs Harbour City Council and Bellingen Shire Council.
A further $18 million will be set aside to provide additional support to larger council areas which have experienced the most significant damage, with the National Bushfire Recovery Coordinator Andrew Colvin working with State Governments and impacted local councils on determining this additional allocation.
"There were a total of 144 homes destroyed across our electorate of Cowper in the bushfires, plus 340 outbuildings and 10 public facilities," Mr Conaghan said.
"The sheer scale of the disaster means there is still a long road ahead and it will continue to require an unprecedented joint effort with the NSW Government, councils, charities and community members."
Mr Milburn said councillors and the community will talk about how the funding will be distributed in the coming weeks.
"We're all in this together and we want to make sure the funding is distributed as effectively as we can so that it benefits the whole community."
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