Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the National Bushfire Recovery Agency would be funded with an initial $2 billion to ensure the families, farmers and business owners hit by the unprecedented bushfires would get the support they needed as they recover.
The Agency will be led by Andrew Colvin APM AOM, former Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police, and will be modelled off the North Queensland Livestock Industry Recovery Agency established following the 2019 North Queensland floods, as well as the experience of the Victorian Bushfire Reconstruction and Recovery Authority created after the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires.
The Agency's key tasks include:
* Build on the effective working relationships with state, territory and local governments, including their recovery and reconstruction bodies, and to work with stakeholders in bushfire affected communities, and relevant Commonwealth agencies to inform and integrate recovery and rebuild activities
* Ensuring affected communities have ready access to meaningful support and all available services
* Providing advice and recommendations to Government on the economic and social impacts of bushfire on affected communities, in consultation with relevant agencies across all levels of government;
* Developing and coordinating the delivery of a long-term plan for the recovery, rebuild and resilience of bushfire affected communities
Funding for the Agency is in addition to the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements that have been activated in all bushfire affected areas already with $25 million in Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment and Disaster Recovery Allowance flowing to communities.
The Commonwealth and NSW Governments have already committed $86 million for the recovery effort in that state and Category C assistance between the Commonwealth and Victoria is also expected to flow shortly.
People affected by the bushfires can claim disaster payments by calling Services Australia (Centrelink) on 180 22 66 and find more information at www.humanservices.gov.au/disaster.
As soon as it is safe to do so, Mobile Service Centres will head into affected regions to assist with all Government payment services, including disaster payments.