More financial help available for bushfire hit Livingstone
MORE financial relief is on the way to assist in the recovery process for the bushfire ravaged shire of Livingstone.
After allegedly being ignited by a 16-year-old boy on November 9, 2019, the 7km long and 13km wide Cobraball bushfire went on to engulf 12,100 hectares of land in the shire including 15 homes, 38 sheds, 8500 hectares of grazing land and 275 hectares of horticultural production land including tropical fruit (mango, lychee, banana) production.
Livingstone Shire was one of 13 councils in line to share in $36.8 million for bushfire recovery projects, funded on a 50/50 basis through Category D of the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA) by the Australian and Queensland governments.
Residents affected by the 2019-20 bushfires were encouraged to talk to their council about priorities for recovery, so local needs can be reflected in the projects councils put forward for funding.
Capricornia MP Michelle Landry said the opening of this fund was the next step for communities starting to recover from the impacts of the fires and building a better future.
“This funding will enable community-led recovery by funding projects that have been identified by local communities to support their local recovery needs. Each area will identify different priorities and I encourage anyone who has recovery ideas to speak to their local council and engage in the process,” Ms Landry said.
Projects eligible for funding may include new infrastructure or upgrades to existing infrastructure, initiatives supporting entrepreneurship and innovation, local recovery support for businesses, local industry recovery, and neighbourhood and community activities that focus on building capacity, community strength and resilience.
Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management David Littleproud said the bushfires of 2019 had a devastating and ongoing impact on many Queenslanders.
“This bushfire recovery funding is about ensuring the recovery of the most heavily impacted communities can continue, especially in light of the COVID-19 situation,” Mr Littleproud said.
“(This) announcement is part of the Commonwealth’s $448.5 million commitment to fund recovery projects around Australia so towns and regions can get back on their feet following last summer’s fires.
“The allocation to Queensland will see more than $36 million shared between projects in the 13 most heavily impacted local government areas, supporting their local economic recovery.
“This joint funding is for projects that support local and regional recovery, with funding allocated based on community needs.”
He said that could be economic or social, in relation to the rebuilding of infrastructure, or to do with the natural environment.
“Local councils will have a key role in putting the right projects forward and I encourage communities to engage with their local council on recovery priorities,” Mr Littleproud said.
Queensland Treasurer and Minister responsible for the QRA Cameron Dick said the Local Economic Recovery Fund would prove crucial in helping Queensland bounce back from one of its toughest ever periods.
“The crippling economic effects we’re now seeing as a result of COVID-19 have only added more stress to parts of out state that were already pushed to the limits,” Mr Dick said.
“Battling severe bushfires in 2019, and drought for an extended period before that, these affected regions were hurting long before the current pandemic arrived.
“That’s why we’re getting this funding out the door fast, to create more work in communities as we Unite and Recover for Queensland Jobs.
“Our government is focused on delivering its economic recovery plan for Queensland, and this funding partnership with the Commonwealth will be a real boost to our ongoing efforts.
“Every project backed through this fund will help Queensland businesses, workers and families,” he said.
“So whether an eligible council or state agency is looking to build or strengthen infrastructure, deliver local support services or host community activities and events, I encourage them to submit an expression of interest.”
For more information on Local Economic Recovery funding, including details on how to apply, please visit www.qra.qld.gov.au/LER
Councils can submit expressions of interest to the Queensland Reconstruction Authority by September 7, 2020.