November cut-off for fire assistance

Bushfire-affected residents have until November to apply for money from the Blue Mountains Bushfire Mayoral Relief Fund.

While the fund's committee has distributed $3.14 million to date, some eligible residents have not applied to take part.

"Importantly, phase 1 and 2 applications remain open for those bushfire-affected residents who have yet to contact the committee," said committee chairman Phil Koperberg.

"Despite our best efforts, there are a few residents who we believe were significantly impacted by the October 2013 bushfires who we have been unable to reach."

Mr Koperberg said the committee has set a closing date for applications to the mayoral relief fund of midnight Sunday, November 2, 2014 for those residents yet to apply.

"At this time, the committee will assess the balance of funds available and determine how the balance of funds, if any, is to be disbursed to those bushfire-affected residents in the greatest need," he said.

"The committee aims to distribute all mayoral relief funding by the end of 2014, in time for the Christmas period."

Mr Koperberg said it was "heartening that the mayoral relief fund grant payments have made such a positive contribution to the recovery efforts of bushfire-affected residents".

"In order to ensure continued fairness in the distribution of limited funds, the committee has consistently applied the underpinning principle of the fund, based on the 'capacity to recover', a model that is considered leading practice in international disaster relief."

The balance of the $3.38 million received from individual donations and contributions from the Australian Red Cross, Anglicare and St Vincent de Paul Society, has been allocated to contingency funding to cover emerging issues and provide for funding applications from those residents who have not yet applied.

Blue Mountains mayor Mark Greenhill said "there is no doubt the mayoral relief fund is doing the job it set out to do, which is to raise much-needed funds for survivors of the October 2013 Blue Mountains bushfires to assist with the costs of recovery.

"It is only thanks to the generosity of kind-hearted individuals and charities that we have been fortunate to be in the position of offering some financial support to our residents in their time of need."

Donations can still be made to the fund. To donate, contact council on 4780 5000 or visit www.bmcc.nsw.gov.au.

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