NBRA praises councils’ quick use of emergency bushfire funds

National Bushfire Recovery Coordinator Andrew Colvin has applauded local councils’ quick and effective use of emergency funding to provide community support.

In an update on recovery efforts, Mr Colvin said vital support was being provided by an array of council projects, and “as further councils report on their activity we will consolidate this information and make it available”.

“I am sure there are good ideas that others may want to replicate also,” he said.

Local Governments got immediate bushfire assistance of $62 million from the NBRA (the list of recipients is here) to expedite recovery and help strengthen community resilience.

Mr Colvin said mental health remained at the forefront of recovery efforts, and he noted that funding was going to Fortem Australia and the Black Dog Institute to provide free Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and other mental health support services for workers and volunteers who responded to the Black Summer bushfires.  

In related news, the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster will hold hearings on the responsibilities of local governments in relation to natural disaster risk mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery from 22-24 June.

The commission expects to hear from witnesses from several councils, including Adelaide Hills, The City of Swan, Clarence Valley,  East Gippsland Shire, Eurobodalla Shire, Kangaroo Island, Moreton Bay Regional, Richmond Valley, Shire of Dundas, Shoalhaven City, Snowy Monaro Regional, Southern Downs Regional, Sunshine Coast, Towong Shire, and Wollondilly Shire.

The Royal Commission also expects to hear evidence from representatives of the Australian Local Government Association, Municipal Association of Victoria, Local Government Association of Queensland, and Local Government NSW

To enable forthcoming hearings, the commission has published a review of hazard reduction literature focussing on prescribed burning. The paper also canvasses literature related to mechanical fuel-load reduction and livestock grazing as fuel management techniques.

The paper is available from the commission’s publications web page, along with a new background paper on cultural burning practices.