Member for Gilmore, Fiona Phillips MP has regularly visited the local evacuation centres and spoken with residents and small businesses in a number of fire impacted communities. Many people, in particular local small businesses, have raised concerns about their ability to access the current financial assistance. "The devastating bushfires on the NSW South Coast are having a profound impact on the community."
“I have spoken with so many people and what I am consistently hearing is that there is not enough support for individuals and small businesses that have lost significant income because of the fire,” Mrs Phillips said.
We know how heavily the South Coast relies on the tourism industry. The bushfires have had a huge impact on not only the tourism industry, but on all the small businesses that rely on the increased population during the summer.
“People have been unable to go to work. They have lost stock, they have lost customers. They are struggling emotionally and financially,”
“Many of these businesses have tried to access the help that is available but are consistently being told there is nothing available for them” Mrs Phillips said.
“This is simply not good enough,”
The Morrison Government has announced a new $2 billion National Bushfire Recovery Fund, however other than the mental health package announced over the weekend, very little is known about exactly what this fund will mean for people on the ground.
“The Morrison Government must urgently release the full details of the recently announced National Bushfire Recovery Fund and make sure that help is made available to people in our community as soon as possible,” Fiona Phillips said.
“It is absolutely heartbreaking to hear from people who fled their homes and witnessed the absolute devastation of their community, have been without power for more than a week and lost a large portion of their income for the year, but cannot get any help from the government,”
“I am asking the Prime Minister to ensure this funding flows through to local people without delay,” she said. The Member for Gilmore encourages everyone impacted to make sure they are accessing the help that is available. The Disaster Welfare Assistance line has also been set up to help impacted people get help and advice - this line is 1800 018 444. There is also a Public Information and Inquiry Line for the South Coast that can provide bushfire information on 1800 227 228.