$400 million Phase 3 disaster recovery package to support the Hawkesbury

Friday, 16 July 2021

The Morrison and Berejiklian Governments have delivered a further $400 million in funding to support the Hawkesbury recover from the February and March 2021 storms and floods. 

Phase 3 of the Recovery Package covers nine key initiatives, targeted at supporting medium to long-term recovery needs, and includes a $200 million Infrastructure Betterment Fund which will support the reconstruction and improved disaster resilience of public assets damaged during the recent storms and floods, as well as the 2019-20 bushfires.

Liberal Senator for Western Sydney, Senator the Hon Marise Payne, said the latest funding was recognition that the recovery effort was ongoing.

“Our Phase 1 and 2 recovery packages were designed to address immediate issues, such as debris removal and emergency loans for businesses, with individuals in the Hawkesbury receiving over $6.8 to date through the Disaster Recovery Allowance,” Senator Payne said. 

“I know that the Hawkesbury community has provided valuable feedback to all levels of government, and that has fed into the development of this comprehensive suite of new measures.

“Funding is being directed at the repair and rebuild of major public assets and community infrastructure, in addition to industry-specific support for our local turf and vegetable farmers.

“Importantly, Phase 3 includes a dedicated funding package for the restoration of riverbanks which will assist private landowners, NSW Government Agencies and Councils to ensure post-flood remediation works on riverbanks can be done quickly.

“I particularly acknowledge the work of Hawkesbury City Council, led by Mayor Patrick Connolly, for their continued support of the community, in addition to Jenny Zadro of Turf Australia who has been tireless in assisting hard-hit turf farmers.”

Member for Hawkesbury, Robyn Preston MP, has welcomed the announcement of the recovery package.

 

“This commitment to the ongoing needs of flood-affected communities is welcomed and will allow industries to build back after the setbacks of compounded disasters,” Ms Preston said.

 

“It will protect jobs, secure important infrastructure and ensure the health and wellbeing of communities.

 

“This new package of funds recognises the ongoing need to help industries bounce back, keep on staff, rebuild the infrastructure of our towns and safeguard the resilience of our local economies and people.

 

“The importance of this recovery package can’t be underestimated.”

 

Robyn Preston MP said she is looking forward to seeing the program of industry and infrastructure funding packages roll out across the community over the coming weeks.

 

Minister for Emergency Management and National Recovery and Resilience, Senator Bridget McKenzie said the NSW Storm and Flood Phase Three Recovery Package would ensure the long-term recovery of impacted regions.

“We have listened to farmers and producers and included more than $25 million to provide grants for rural landholders who do not qualify for the existing supports,” Minister McKenzie said. 

NSW Deputy Premier and Minister responsible for Disaster Recovery John Barilaro said the 50/50 jointly funded package complemented the funding provided to date and would play a key role in supporting long-term recovery.

“The Australian and NSW Governments continue to stand by communities who were hit by devastating storms and floods earlier this year, many of whom were already reeling from the impacts of prolonged drought, bushfires and COVID,” Mr Barilaro said.

“We cannot underestimate the mental health and wellbeing of those impacted by these disasters and I’m pleased that we’ve been able to provide extensive support to assist communities hardest hit, as well as dedicated flood Community Recovery Officers in highly impacted LGAs to play the same important role as those already supporting bushfire-affected areas.” 

People requiring ongoing flood assistance, support and referral are urged to contact Service NSW on 13 77 88 or online via service.nsw.gov.au/floods

Information on disaster assistance is available on the Australian Government's Disaster Assist website at disasterassist.gov.au

BACKGROUND

The nine initiatives of the Phase 3 of the Recovery Package are:

 

$79.8m for the NSW Flood Industry Recovery Package 

 

This package will provide targeted funding for the agriculture, aquaculture and horticulture industries to support immediate and longer-term recovery needs and retention of jobs for eligible producers and businesses. For example, the grants can be accessed by turf farms, vegetable growers, nurseries, oyster farmers and commercial fisheries and be used to build resilience and preparedness, improve the competitiveness of industries, support supply-chain efficiencies, and for product diversification and market expansion.

 

$52.5m for the Community Infrastructure Repair Program

 

This program will provide targeted infrastructure repair and renewal in partnership with local councils in high to severely impacted disaster-declared LGAs.

 

$25.2 million for $10,000 Rural Landholder Grants

 

These grants of up to $10,000 are to reimburse rural landholders for the cost of clean-up activities, losses or damages beyond the vicinity of the residential dwelling, not covered by insurance, and for rural landholders who do not qualify for the $75,000 primary producer grant or the $50,000 small business grant.

 

$18.5m for the restoration of riverbanks

 

This program will assist private landowners, NSW Government Agencies and Councils to ensure post-flood remediation works on riverbanks can be done quickly, are appropriate and consistent with Government policy and regulations, will support the long-term health of the rivers, and protect assets and businesses. 

 

$14.1m for the Mental Health and Community Wellbeing Program

 

This funding will provide targeted support for Aboriginal communities; children; and young people impacted by the storms and floods for up to 24 months. This package will fund programs to address mental health needs in these specific, vulnerable and under-serviced cohorts and will complement other mainstream services that are already available. For example, the package will fund a Community and Schools Resilience Project to engage officers in flood affected communities to identify mental health needs and connect young people with local mental health and wellbeing services.

 

$7.9m for the restoration of Jenolan Caves 

 

This funding will support public land managers to restore damaged environmental assets and in some cases, rebuild them to a more resilient standard.

 

$4.4m for Local Recovery Resources

 

This funding is for severely impacted councils to engage a designated floods Community Recovery Officer for up to 24 months to deliver community-based recovery initiatives and assist people to navigate and access recovery support.

 

$1m for volunteer/not-for-profit organisations

 

This funding is for volunteer organisations such as BlazeAid to purchase fencing material and equipment to support rural fencing programs in flood-affected communities.

 

$200 million Infrastructure Betterment Fund, which will be established to support the reconstruction and improved disaster resilience of public assets damaged during the recent storms and floods, as well as the 2019-20 bushfires.