Businesses and communities in bushfire impacted regions will now have more time to prepare and apply for grants under the $250 million Bushfire Local Economic Recovery (BLER) fund open round, which is co-funded by the NSW and Australian governments.
Australian Minister for Emergency Management, David Littleproud and NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro today announced a new deadline for applications of 28 January 2021.
Mr Littleproud said that the Commonwealth was committed to ensuring that as many communities and businesses as possible could access Local Economic Recovery support.
“Our national approach to Local Economic Recovery funding is about assisting communities to lead their own recovery, with governments and local partners funding projects that will make a real difference locally," Mr Littleproud said.
“I encourage fire affected communities in New South Wales to get together and consider what their community needs to boost their economy, their wellbeing and their recovery, and I look forward to seeing what people come up with and the benefits that will flow long-term."
Mr Barilaro said an additional 12 months has also been provided for successful applicants to deliver their BLER projects, with all projects now to be completed by June 2023.
“As communities focus on rebuilding, the last thing they need is to come up against bureaucratic red tape so we are working with communities and councils in bushfire impacted areas to support them during this period," Mr Barilaro said.
“We know we need to work with people not against them, and we have heard communities loud and clear. Communities and businesses are still working to re-establish themselves, and for many, it is going to be some time before that is a possibility.
“By extending the BLER deadline we are giving bushfire affected communities the opportunity to plan, develop and deliver the best proposals for projects that will support the social and economic recovery of these regions, and create vital jobs now and into the future."
Grants of between $200,000 and $20 million will be available through the Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Fund for projects such as:
- Restoration of bushfire impacted roads
- Local community and cultural infrastructure
- Community wellbeing and mental health programs
- Tourism campaigns (including digital product development) and regional events
- Workforce adaptation and work ready training programs
- Local infrastructure including walking and mountain bike trails to support communities and bring in tourists
- Regeneration activities to support recovery of the local natural environment
- Neighbourhood safer places.
Applications are now open under the Bushfire Local Economic Recovery fund. For more information, including guidelines, visit https://www.nsw.gov.au/blerfund
Alongside this open call for project ideas under BLER, shovel-ready projects are also separately being identified in bushfire affected areas, so they can be fast tracked to provide community and economic benefit as quickly as possible. A number of these fast tracked projects have already been announced. Together with the BLER, this brings the total investment of the Australian and NSW Governments for local community and business bushfire to over $500 million.
Further support for NSW communities affected by the 19/20 bushfires includes:
- Approximately $4.4 billion Commonwealth and State expenditure has been committed to the bushfire response, recovery and preparedness efforts. This includes a commitment of almost $3 billion from the NSW Government.
- More than 8,000 people were assisted with emergency accommodation
- More than 3,600 properties have been cleared through the joint NSW and Commonwealth funded clean-up program
- More than $200 million has been distributed to small businesses
- Over $100 million has been awarded in primary producer grants
- 207 temporary accommodation pods are on the ground across NSW, allowing people to stay on their land while they rebuild
- 6,326 kilometres of replacement fencing committed
- $8.5 million dedicated to funding local Recovery Support Services
- 22 Community Recovery Officers have been funded and are working with councils on recovery across NSW.
- 35 bushfire mental health clinicians have been deployed
- the Bushfire Local Economic Recovery (BLER) fund joins the Bushfire Community Recovery and Resilience Fund (BCRRF), which is for smaller projects and was recently extended for applications to 11 December 2020. Recipients will be given an additional year to deliver projects under both funds, until June 2023.