NSW BUSHFIRE RELATED UPDATES
$1 BILLION TO REBUILD BUSHFIRE IMPACTED COMMUNITIES IN NSW
- Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Treasurer Dominic Perrottet yesterday announced $1 billion over the next two years to rebuild bushfire impacted communities across NSW.
- The additional funding will prioritise the repair and rebuilding of vital infrastructure, such as roads, rail-lines, bridges, schools, health facilities and communications facilities, which have been damaged or destroyed by bushfires.
- This announcement is on top of the NSW Government’s disaster assistance funding for this bushfire season of up to $231 million already committed.
- This includes;
- $166 million to fight fires on top of the record 2019/20 RFS Budget.
- $25 million to facilitate the clean-up of both insured and uninsured homes damaged or destroyed by the fires.
- $23 million for grants of up to $15,000 for primary producers and small businesses to assist with clean-up and the replacement of infrastructure.
- $6 million for additional mental health services for individuals, community groups and emergency services personnel.
- $11 million to fund the Economic Recovery and Community Resilience Grants Program.
MOBILE CUSTOMERS TO RECEIVE UNLIMITED ACCESS TO EMERGENCY SERVICES WEBSITES
- At the request of the NSW Government, major telecommunications providers including Telstra, Optus and Vodafone have committed to providing unlimited access to emergency service websites for customers in bushfire-affected areas.
- This initiative will provide reassurance to those in bushfire affected areas who are able to check emergency service websites and apps via their mobile as many times as they need to.
- The initiative is in response to reports of a large number of customers receiving notifications that they were approaching their mobile data limits due to increased internet usage.
HOUSING SERVICE TO ASSIST BUSHFIRE RESPONSE
- A dedicated housing assistance service has been launched to support the urgent housing needs of residents impacted by the bushfires.
- Housing assistance available includes access to emergency accommodation, private rental bonds and advance rent payments.
- People impacted by the fires can access the service by:
- calling the Disaster Welfare Assistance Line (DWAL) on 1800 018 444; or,
- contacting or visiting a local Department of Communities and Justice Housing office.
- For more information about the Bushfire Housing Assistance Service, visit www.dcj.nsw.gov.au/families-and-communities/bushfire-housing-assistance-service/.
MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT DURING BUSHFIRE CRISIS
- The NSW Government is deploying teams of mental health clinicians to support people suffering from the bushfire crisis to help rebuild their lives.
- Specialist Bushfire Recovery Clinicians will work right across NSW to support individuals, carers and families. The clinicians are easily identified by their NSW Health fluorescent vests and add to the Disaster Welfare Services already being provided at Evacuation Centres throughout bushfire-affected areas.
- Encouraging people to turn to their friends, family and community for support is also critical. Maintaining social connections, having conversations and debriefing with community members is a crucial part of the recovery process.
- If day-to-day functioning is affected, local General Practitioners (GPs) and Mental Health Professionals are there to assist. A GP can formulate a Mental Health Treatment Plan which allows Medicare rebates for up to 10 mental health services per year under the Better Access scheme.
- The Mental Health and wellbeing of children may also be affected. The Australian Psychological Society has published guidelines for parents and caregivers https://www.psychology.org.au/Australian-bushfires-2020.
- The Disaster Welfare Assistance Line is also staffed with counselling support and can be accessed by phone on 1800 018 444.
COMMUNITY RECOVERY ASSISTANCE EXTENDED FOR BUSHFIRE AFFECTED COMMUNITIES IN SOUTHERN NSW
- Community recovery assistance has been extended for bushfire-hit communities in the Bega Valley, Eurobodalla, Queanbeyan-Palerang, Shoalhaven, Snowy Monaro, Snowy Valleys and Mid-Western council areas.
- This will give farmers and small businesses in those LGAs recovery grants of up to $15,000.
- To apply for a recovery grant, contact the NSW Rural Assistance Authority on 1800 678 593 or visit www.raa.nsw.gov.au.
ASSISTANCE ROLLS OUT AS STOCK LOSSES CONTINUE TO MOUNT
- The NSW Government has distributed more than 880 tonnes of fodder to bushfire affected farmers in south-east NSW, as the number of livestock reported killed or euthanised as a result of the fires rose to almost 5,200.
- Producers can report stock losses and infrastructure damage, or request animal assessment, or emergency fodder or water for stock, by calling the Agricultural and Animal Services Hotline on 1800 814 647.
- For assistance regarding the transport of donated fodder contact the NSW Rural Assistance Authority on 1800 678 593.
NEW FREE LEGAL SERVICE FOR BUSHFIRE VICTIMS
- Thousands of NSW residents impacted by the State’s devastating bushfires will be offered free legal help with the launch of the Disaster Response Legal Service NSW.
- Legal Aid NSW will operate the service, which will be available via its helpline 1800 801 529.
SPECIAL AUTHORITY TO BYPASS THE 3 DAY LIMIT FOR EMERGENCY PRESCRIPTIONS
- NSW Health has signed a special authority to bypass the 3 day (limit) rule for emergency prescriptions. This will mean pharmacists can supply normal pack sizes of non-PBS medicines. Opioids and other high-risk drugs still a need prescriptions via a doctor.
- Pharmacists can prescribe Ventolin based on their professional judgement.
OTHER NSW GOVERNMENT UPDATES
DIGITAL DRIVER’S LICENCE GOES GANGBUSTERS
- More than 1 million NSW motorists have downloaded the Digital Driver Licence (DDL) since it was officially launched on 3 November, accounting for almost 19 per cent of all licence holders.
- Starting with Australia Post over-the-counter parcel collections, NSW residents can expect to have their DDL accepted in more places in 2020, with a ‘copy solution’ being built to provide an alternative for checkers in situations where they are currently required to take a photocopy of a plastic driver licence.
- To get a DDL, licence holders will need to create a MyServiceNSW Account at www.service.nsw.gov.au and download the Service NSW mobile app on their smartphone. The digital licence will always be opt-in only.
NEW SYDNEY SPEEDWAY GETS INTO GEAR
- Sydney Motorsport Park has been chosen as the preferred location for the new Sydney speedway.
- An in-principle lease has been agreed to build a new speedway to the south of the Sydney Dragway at Eastern Creek.
- In 2019, Sydney Metro notified the Sydney Speedway leaseholder about the need for the site to be acquired in 2021, to stable the new driverless train fleet.
Source: 16 News http://www.16news.com.au/index.php/2020/01/11/nsw-government-weekly-update-10-january-2020/