Signing off on the Bushfire Relief Committee's recommendations for the expenditure of the $1.416 million Federal Government grant announced in February, Nambucca Valley councillors clearly had the immediate wellbeing of fire-affected residents uppermost in their minds.
The bulk of the money, $1.047 million, was allocated to Phases 2 and 3 of grants to properties damaged in the Kian Rd bushfire of which there are 349 with payments capped at $1500.
"We are allowing a lot of direct funding to fire victims, as they are our first priority," the mayor Rhonda Hoban said.
"In the first instance we made payments to everyone who lost their homes, we did not make any judgement about people's circumstances.
"Now we are helping those who are facing considerable hardship due to the loss of infrastructure."
In answer to a comment by Cr Susan Jenvey regarding community grumblings that people without insurance were getting large 'financial leg-ups' from the Government, General Manager Michael Coulter said those people were means tested and it was done through the Office of Emergency Management.
"Out of the 63 houses lost in our shire, that level of assistance will probably go to five, maybe eight households," Mr Coulter said.
"For the council equity is the important issue here - we don't operate as a 'needs-based' organisation, we don't have access to that type of information about residents."
The remainder of the funds have been allocated to contingency for road repairs/vegetation and debris removal, habitat restoration, hall improvements, excess for repairs of the three bridges burnt and also a 13,000 litre dog tanker for road maintenance and fire fighting.
In a late amendment councillors accepted the offer from BlazeAid to split the $72,000 cost of a bulldozing contractor to undertake boundary clearing work associated with rebuilding fences, with council's share coming from the road repair contingency allocation.
Cr John Ainsworth said BlazeAid had spoken of a major weed problem since the rain and asked for herbicide from council to assist them.
Cr David Jones said the request needed clarification as the council had a duty of care in the use of herbicides.
It was agreed BlazeAid would be contacted for further clarification.
Cr Jenvey said it would be good to have a nursery where people could access the beginnings of a garden.
"Gardens and gardening can help a lot with mental wellbeing," she said.