Blue Mountains Posts

State Government’s contribution to Blue Mountains City bushfire recovery ‘woefully low’: Mayor

By Blue Mountains City Council
Posted: 16 Feb 2021
Blue Mountains City Council did not receive a single cent from the NSW Local Economic Recovery Fund valued at $177 million, despite submitting more than 20 shovel-ready projects.

In fact, the State Government has contributed only $875,000 to Blue Mountains Council to assist the City with recovery following the 2019/20 summer bushfires.

Responding to the recent controversy about bushfire funding for the City, as well as the Deputy Premier’s comments before the parliamentary inquiry, Blue Mountains Mayor Mark Greenhill said to recover well from bushfires there had to be surety in regards to financial support, as well as the timely delivery of funding.

“In light of the recent revelations about the extent to which the State Government has so far neglected the Blue Mountains in its bushfire recovery, and by contrast the $100-plus million given to coalition electorates, I think it is important for our community to know exactly what the State Government has given the City of the Blue Mountains.

“Excluding Federal Government funding, which amounts to nearly $1.5 million, the State Government has contributed only $875,000 to Blue Mountains City Council. Overall this is a woefully low number and the distribution of this funding has taken far too long,” Mayor Greenhill said.

“It shows a disregard to our community – and our local economy that almost entirely relies on tourism – and the devastation we experienced due to the 2019/2020 summer bushfires.

“Our City was surrounded by fire on three sides for months. Seventy percent of our World Heritage Area was impacted by fires. Our people were traumatised, they still are. Our emergency services were brave and stretched to the limit.

“If we are successful in the second round we will spend that money well, but it will come 18 months after the fires when for many Blue Mountains businesses it will be too late.”

Council developed the REMPLAN Bushfire Affectation report to advocate for small businesses in the wake of the bushfires.

“Our community needs more support from the State Government,” Mayor Greenhill said. “The results of the REMPLAN Bushfire Affectation report details a loss of over 2500 jobs and almost $560 million in output for the region as a result of these bushfires. This has obviously been compounded by the global COVID-19 pandemic.”

Blue Mountains City Council submitted more than 20 shovel-ready projects for funding, via the NSW Local Economic Recovery Fund worth $177 million. This fund included State and Federal Government contributions, but was administered by the State Government.

“The projects we submitted and which were rejected would have supported our community to recover and would have created hundreds of local jobs through direct activity and economic stimulation,” Mayor Greenhill said.

“The community needs to know the real figure and the extent of the neglect of this community so far in the wake of the bushfires by the NSW Government.

“At our Extraordinary Meeting last night, council backed my Mayoral Matter of Urgency and our campaign for this community continues.”

 
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