12 May: Councillors have acknowledged the community recovery projects under the $1.275 million Australian and Queensland Governments' Bushfire Recovery funding.
Yesterday, Scenic Rim Councillors acknowledged the community recovery projects, which will be undertaken using the $1.275 million funding under the Australian and Queensland Governments' Bushfire Recovery Exceptional Assistance Program.
Scenic Rim Mayor Greg Christensen said the projects had recently been approved by the Queensland Reconstruction Authority to ensure they met the funding guidelines.
"The funding for bushfire impacted Councils was announced by the Prime Minister in January in response to one of the worst bushfire seasons in the Nation's history.
"We've been working through a range of options to deliver projects that will benefit our communities, while meeting the funding guidelines.
"One of the key projects will be to establish access to non-potable water supply across the region to support firefighting efforts," Cr Christensen said.
"We will also employ a temporary Bushfire Resilience Officer to facilitate inspections and provide education and advice around fire hazard management for property owners across the region."
One of the guidelines for the funding was to provide immediate maintenance and repairs to relief and evacuation centres said Cr Christensen.
"Council will be identifying halls within our current Evacuation Centre Sub-Plan that require upgrades to increase their capacity to be used as places of refuge or evacuation centres during a disaster.
"When community members are displaced due to a disaster, we know it can be extremely stressful, so it's important they can, at a minimum, have access to well-equipped facilities.
Hosting new public activities and events to bring communities together and attract visitors back to affected regions is also one of the four guidelines.
"Some of the funding will support a new arts event to attract visitors to Beechmont following the devastating September bushfires. Renowned for its strong arts and cultural scene, this will be a positive way to attract visitors and build on those strengths the community is so famous for.
"The funding will subsidise fees for local stallholders for the 2021 Winter Harvest Festival, as well as subsidising events being hosted during Eat Local Week.
"This will allow our wonderful food and beverage producers to showcase their offerings and build sales opportunities at the region's well-established and award winning major food event, which will celebrate its 10th anniversary in 2021."
"The funding will also support a conference where people in our food, farming and agritourism industries can network and exchange ideas to help build resilience and diversify income streams, which has become more important than ever in recent times.
Now that the projects have been approved by the Queensland Reconstruction Authority and acknowledged by our Councillors, Mayor Greg Christensen said the Council team were enthusiastic to get the projects started.
"We recognise that it's been a particularly tough time for our region and it's important that we now get on and deliver these projects for our communities.
"Our only hope is that we never experience another bushfire season like last year, however it's important that we continue to maintain our preparedness.
"We are grateful to the Australian and Queensland Governments for the funding to help support the ongoing recovery for our beautiful region," Cr Christensen said.
Announced by the Prime Minister on 9 January, the four key guidelines for projects under the Bushfire Recovery Exceptional Assistance Program include:
- rebuilding damaged or destroyed council assets such as key local roads, bridges, and community facilities
- employing additional local staff to take on specialist recovery or planning roles to help coordinate and plan the rebuilding effort
- hosting new public activities and events to bring communities together and attract visitors back to affected regions, and
- immediate maintenance and repairs to relief and evacuation centres.
Council submitted the projects for approval to the Queensland Reconstruction Authority at the end of March 2020, and this first Ordinary Meeting of the new Council has been the first opportunity for the new Councillors to acknowledge the funding. Council will continue to review and monitor the implementation of the Bushfire Recovery projects as we deal with the more recent events, which have impacted the local economy.