An allocation of $250,000 is available to Eurobodalla Shire Council from the Bushfire Community Resilience and Economic Recovery Fund (BCRERF) through the joint Australian and NSW Government Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangement, made available to bushfire affected Local Government Areas in NSW following the unprecedented bushfires from August 2019 onwards. The intent of the funding is to meet the needs of vulnerable groups addressed in disaster recovery it is also anticipated that it will contribute ensuring the community is aware of recovery process, ensuring the community are aware of risk of future disasters and to assist that the community improves capacity and capability to respond to future disasters with business and Not for Profit having mitigation practices in place for risks Another qualifying criteria for the $250,000 is that Government, private and community sector and organisations be engaged in mitigation plans for recovery management. Small businesses affected by the loss in tourism trade over December 2019 and January 2020 have been identified as some of the most affected groups in our community with the flow on from economic loss to impact the entire community. The Bushfire Community Resilience and Economic Recovery Fund Small recognises that businesses affected by the loss in tourism trade over December 2019 and January 2020 have been identified as some of the most affected groups in our community with the flow on from economic loss impacting the entire Eurobodalla community. The report, drafted by staff, outlines a list of projects that are recommended to assist the Eurobodalla businesses and community in the recovery process and they are hoping to secure the vote of councillors that the list they have compiled of projects, (as tabled below), be forwarded to the NSW Government for consideration and approval. From the table it appears that the General Manager, in her report, has decided to absorb the Federal Grant of $250,000 into Council's own revenue stream and use it to waive Council's own annual fees that it would otherwise have imposed on local businesses. This will no doubt be seen as a Win Win for both local businesses who will appreciate the removal of the fees and a Win for Council who will still attract the revenue to their General Fund and not be out of pocket. Of the $250,000 Council will be able to keep $225,000 while distributing, in real dollars $5000 to each of the five Business Chambers to fund an event or program to "benefit" the whole of the business community.
Above: The breakdown of the $250,000 Bushfire Community Resilience and Economic Recovery Fund (Note that with the absence of oversight of the accurate Mr O'Reilly the tally of the above comes to $254,000 ???) Whilst you can access the library Wi-Fi free of charge if you bring your own device the $20,000 provision of free internet at all libraries cover the fees will cover those in the community who use the library's computers. Council will waive its Computer equipment booking fee to Library Members of $1 per 30 minutes and to Non-member of $2 per 30 minutes. Pensioners / Students / Concession card holders will continue to have access to the computers free of charge. In essence the Federal Government, through its Bushfire Community Resilience and Economic Recovery Fund, will be giving Council $20,000 to waive fees for the community so that Council and the community are not out of pocket.