Mayor Rhonda Hoban is "absolutely thrilled" about the Federal Government's announcement of a million dollars to help our Valley repair itself after the bushfires.
"This money will be a godsend in helping us to recover," she said.
"I know the South Coast fires have been horrific, but it's good the devastation from the North Coast fires in November is being recognised and the Government realises that recovery is a long-term effort."
All five councils in the electorate of Cowper will receive $1 million each, which is an "untied grant", and able to be used at the Councils' discretion.
It was announced yesterday that 42 of the most severely bushfire-impacted councils in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Queensland will receive the "base payment" of $1 million from the newly-announced Bushfire Recovery Agency to help quickly rebuild vital infrastructure and strengthen community resilience.
Funding will be directed to councils which have been 'activated' by their respective State Government for Category C bushfire disaster recovery relief under the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA). Payments will not require matched funding from State Governments.
Federal Member for Cowper Pat Conaghan welcomed the funding allocation, saying it will help the region's families, farmers and businesses get back on their feet.
"This funding is being immediately directed to councils to rebuild roads and infrastructure, employ staff to help in recovery activities, and hold events which bring the community together," he said.
"Mayors and councillors are extremely close to their communities and have in-depth knowledge of how the recent bushfires have impacted residents, infrastructure and community assets.
"Directing some of the Bushfire Recovery Agency's money to councils will therefore help our region to recover as quickly as possible."
Mayor Hoban said this money comes on top of the standard disaster relief funding which is made available under Natural Disaster Area status and which will be used to repair the two burnt out bridges in South Arm.
She said Council is currently considering where this newest funding will be spent.
"We only just found out about it yesterday, but we've obviously taken the general view that the money should go towards things which assist fire-affected communities," she said.
We are considering working with BlazeAid, and there is the possibility of funding a dozer to clear fence lines.
But she said no decisions will be made until Council has spoken with affected communities to find out where the money would be best spent.
Council has also recently made an application to the Australian Defence Force for the loan of a bulldozer.
And in a few weeks Council will launch its official appeal campaign, having just receiving its tax-deductible gift recipient status after a drawn-out and unwieldy bureaucratic process.
"People wanted a secure place to donate money to help those in the Nambucca Valley, but they also wanted to know every cent of their donation would go towards providing relief and wouldn't be chewed up by overheads," Mayor Hoban said.
A further $18 million from the Federal Government will be set aside to provide additional support to larger council areas which have experienced the most significant damage, with the National Bushfire Recovery Coordinator Andrew Colvin working with State Governments and impacted local councils on determining this additional allocation.
"There were a total of 144 homes destroyed across our electorate of Cowper in the bushfires, plus 340 outbuildings and 10 public facilities," Mr Conaghan said.
The sheer scale of the disaster means there is still a long road ahead and it will continue to require an unprecedented joint effort with the NSW Government, councils, charities and community members.
"I would like to thank everyone for their hard work and selflessness shown to date and the Minister for Natural Disaster and Emergency Management David Littleproud for this further financial assistance."