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Council to consider offering a grant up to $1000 to cover DA fees for fire destroyed homes

Recent weeks have seen a public outcry from fire affected Eurobodalla property owners at the revelation that Council offered no dispensation on Development Application fees for new buildings under recovery. Next week's Council meeting reveals the intention to recommend that Council allocate $200,000 from the Disaster Recovery Funding – Commonwealth Government, Councils Affected by Bushfires, to assist significantly impacted ratepayers, as categorised by the NSW Government, with Development Application fees. The details suggest that eligible ratepayers can submit an application through the Eurobodalla Disaster Relief Fund for up to $1,000 to assist with Development Application fees if they owned the subject property during the bushfires. The plane, if adopted, will mean that grant applications will be accepted for a period of two years from 1 July 2020 or until funds are utilised, noting that ratepayers could apply retrospectively. The report to councillors says that the aim of the motion is to further support those members of the community who have been significantly impacted by the bushfires, to speed up the recovery efforts and to help the rebuild. The report offers that the NSW Government has identified 711 properties that were significantly impacted in Eurobodalla. This motion, if adopted, is to assist those ratepayers who have been significantly impacted by the bushfires with a grant of up to $1,000 to assist with Development Application fees. It is anticipated that affected ratepayers would apply for this grant at lodgement of their Development Application. It is also recommended that the applications be open for a period of two years from 1 July 2020 or until the fund is fully utilised. Council has already received 67 Development Applications. These applicants could apply retrospectively, provided they are one of the 711 properties identified by NSW Government. To date, the NSW Government has provided financial assistance, via Council, to ratepayers who have commenced the rebuilding process by waiving of Planning NSW fees, Long Service Levy fees and Bushfire Attack Level Certificates. Currently the Development Fee and Consent Advertising Fee are payable by the applicant. The DA fee won't be paid, as such by Council or ratepayers but instead funds set aside funds from the Disaster Recovery Funding – Commonwealth Government, Councils Affected by Bushfires, for emerging issues. The report to be presented to councillors at the next ordinary meeting of Council says that "this is an issue that Council needs to address by allocating $200,000 of the money to assist current property owners of the significantly impacted properties to rebuild their homes." In a media release issued June 17th Mayor Liz Innes has said “In an effort to assist the building industry, it is also proposed that S94 and S64 contributions, which go toward the cost of Council infrastructure associated with development, be deferred to later in the process.”

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