Relief and Recovery Arrangements.

Disaster assistance has been made available for people affected by the bushfire in the New South Wales local government area of Bega, which includes the Tathra and surrounding communities. Assistance is being provided through the jointly funded Commonwealth-State Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA).

Minister for Law Enforcement and Cyber Security Angus Taylor, who has responsibility for Commonwealth disaster assistance, said the bushfire has been heartbreaking for the Bega communities. “Funding is available for a range of recovery measures to help individuals and families, as well as small businesses, primary producers and the local council,” he said.

One local business fortunately not affected by the fires is the Bega Betta Home Living Superstore. One of the staff spoke briefly to AR and said it was an extremely difficult situation with a lot of people coming through. “We are doing all we can to help but it is early days”. The store is located about 15k from Tathra where an estimated 70 homes were destroyed. Betta Home Living CEO, Graeme Cunningham said: “We will do all we can to help locals in the recovery process.”

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the extreme heat and strong winds ensured the bushfire moved at a rapid speed forcing mass evacuations, and acknowledged there will be broader impacts for the community and local businesses. “A long, tough road lies ahead for these communities as they recover, and we want residents to know that the State and Commonwealth governments will be there to support people as they get back on their feet.”

Assistance available under the NDRRA may include: help for eligible people whose homes or belongings have been damaged; support for affected local councils to help with the costs of cleaning up and restoring damaged essential public assets; concessional interest rate loans for small businesses, primary producers and non-profit organisations; freight subsidies for primary producers, and grants to eligible non-profit organisations.

The Commonwealth and NSW governments are assessing the impact of the fire and are committed to supporting the recovery of the affected communities.