Wednesday, 27 May 2020

Queensland Senator Susan McDonald has welcomed the Morrison Government’s $448.5 million Regional Bushfire Recovery and Development Program which will provide parts of regional Queensland with the additional funding and expertise to revive its economy following the devastating 2019-20 bushfire season.

The program is being funded as part of a broader $650 million package for impacted communities announced by the Morrison Government today. The package is included under the Australian Government’s $2 billion National Bushfire Recovery Fund.

“During the devastating 2019-20 bushfire season, the economic impact to the agriculture, tourism and forestry industries in southern Queensland was $198 million,” said Senator McDonald.

Senator McDonald said the support from this latest funding boost would back local projects and recovery plans, as well as initiatives that benefit all bushfire-affected communities.

“Strong economic recovery in fire-affected regions will enable families and businesses to get back on their feet sooner and rebuild their lives,” she said.

“This program is an opportunity for the community to share ideas and projects with the National Bushfire Recovery Agency through the state government who will work with local governments to roll-out support as quickly as possible. It recognises the importance of regional Queensland having a voice in the recovery process.”

Projects and initiatives will be tailored using local knowledge.

They could range from initiatives that promote economic activity and support community wellbeing, to projects that focus on the landscape and water, replacing produce and stock, or building future resilience.

Senator McDonald said the funding would support the community to ‘build back better’.
“Our community will work with the National Bushfire Recovery Agency and state and local partners to provide input on priority projects as soon as possible,” she said.

The $650 million package also includes:
• $15 million to assist the forestry industry with the increased costs of transporting burned salvaged logs over longer distances to surviving timber mills or storage sites in bushfire affected areas in Victoria and New South Wales.
• $13.5 million for community wellbeing and participation, backing Primary Health Networks with additional funding to provide critical, localised support for bushfire affected individuals to ensure their emotional and mental wellbeing.
• $149.7 million for bushfire recovery related to species and landscapes such as habitat regeneration, waterway and catchment restoration including erosion control, weed and pest management.
• $27.1 million for strengthening telecommunications capabilities before the next bushfire season including the deployment of approximately 2000 satellite phones to rural fire depots and evacuation centres.

Further details are available on the National Bushfire Recovery Agency website at www.bushfirerecovery.gov.au

Scenic Rim $40 million
Lockyer Valley $52 million
Somerset $26 million
Southern Downs $31 million
Livingstone $13 million
Gladstone $13 million
Bundaberg $23 million