Council fires up bushfire recovery efforts

18/02/2020

The Singleton local government area is set to benefit from a $1.225million funding boost, with Council to roll out locally-led community and economic recovery initiatives in the wake of the bushfires.

Last night, Singleton Council resolved to allocate grant funding from the National Bushfire Recovery Agency to a range of projects including infrastructure upgrades, programs to boost the visitor economy and business resilience, as well as ratepayer assistance subsidies.

Council’s General Manager Jason Linnane said the funding boost would further enable Council to drive rapid, targeted recovery initiatives.

"We know that getting this grant funding on the ground is absolutely vital for our community’s capacity to recover from these devastating bushfires,” he said.

“That’s why Singleton Council has decided on a course of action that will most benefit our community. This funding will dramatically increase Council’s ability to deliver timely projects to support local business and industry recovery, community resilience and overall wellbeing.”

Mr Linnane said a significant portion of the funding had been allocated to address the economic loss suffered by Singleton’s tourism industry.

“Current predictions indicate the loss to the Hunter Valley wine and tourism sector will be approximately $122 million for the period from November 2019 to June 2020 and could impact up to 670 jobs.

“Council has therefore allocated $100,000 to the Hunter Valley Wine and Tourism Alliance and a further $50,000 each to the Broke Fordwich and Around Hermitage Associations towards multi-faceted marketing campaigns to rejuvenate the local visitor economy by letting people know that the Hunter Valley is open for business and ready to welcome tourists.

“Council is also seeking additional funding from the state government’s Bushfire Community Resilience and Economic Recovery Program to further support the Hunter Valley Wine and Tourism Alliance destination marketing program.”

Council has also allocated funds towards community development programs, asset management and infrastructure renewal.

“A further $125,000 has been directed towards social programs in partnership with local organisations to build community capacity and resilience, including community connect events and positive education programs in schools,” Mr Linnane said.

“We are also addressing infrastructure issues to safeguard us in future fire events, including replacing the Payne’s Crossing Bridge in partnership with our neighbours in Cessnock, and investigating the design for a replacement of the Putty Valley Road Bridge Culvert.

“With a Council resolution now in place, we are keen to get stuck in and see this funding work for our community as soon as possible.

“And in the meantime, we will continue to advocate for state and federal governments to continue support our community.”

Council’s funding allocation from the National Bushfire Recovery Agency grant in Singleton is as follows:


Organisation/ project description

Funding allocation

Hunter Valley Wine and Tourism Alliance - Destination Marketing Program

$100,000

Broke Fordwich Wine Tourism Association – Tourism Marketing Program

$50,000

The Brokenback Trail Association Incorporated – Around Hermitage Tourism Marketing Program

$50,000

Singleton Chamber of Commerce and other stakeholders – Economic Development Programs

$125,000

Singleton Council – Social Work Programs in partnership with local community organisations

$125,000

Singleton Council – Paynes Crossing Bridge replacement in

conjunction with Cessnock City Council

$200,000

Ratepayer assistance subsidy towards rates for affected properties in line with Council’s adopted Hardship Policy

$180,000

Hunter Valley District NSW Rural Fire Service – Support and asset provision/management

$100,000

Singleton Council – Investigation and design for replacement of Putty Valley Road Bridge/Culvert

$70,000

Singleton Council and Non-Council Managed Community Facilities upgrades

$225,000



ENDS