Blue Mountains council to bid for federal government bushfire recovery funding

Key local economy recovery initiatives of up to $200,000 will go before Blue Mountains City Council for endorsement on January 28.

Council will also bid for funding from the $76 million Commonwealth Government tourism recovery package, announced on January 19.

Blue Mountains mayor Mark Greenhill is urging visitors to return to the Blue Mountains, after bushfires.

The plea has gone nationwide, in a bid to encourage visitors who have stayed away over the Christmas/New Year period to visit the Blue Mountains to help businesses who are struggling.

"Council staff are reaching out to local businesses to understand what they need," said Blue Mountains mayor Mark Greenhill. "We know that our businesses, big and small, are hurting.

"Council's program of proposed local economy recovery initiatives aim to kick start our economy, before it's too late. But it's only the start. Our businesses will need ongoing assistance, from all levels of government, to ensure they recover from these bushfires."

Blue Mountains mayor Mark Greenhill at Echo Point, Katoomba.

Blue Mountains mayor Mark Greenhill at Echo Point, Katoomba.

Council initiatives include:

  • Council refunding up to 50 per cent of commercial property rents for up to three months, back dated to December 2019, and refunding of footpath dining regulatory fees for up to six months.
  • Developing a major Blue Mountains destination marketing campaign to attract visitors back to the Blue Mountains and support local employment and economic recovery.
  • Implementing a 'Love Local' advertising campaign that encourages support of Blue Mountains businesses by shopping locally. The campaign will use social media channels to feature specific villages each month. As the campaign progresses, neighbouring councils will be asked to promote the concept.
  • Promoting the Blue Mountains as a conference centre and promoting existing planned festivals and events, to market the benefits of visiting and staying in the Blue Mountains.
  • Implementing a series of appropriate town centre events to stimulate economic activity and employ local creatives. This may take the form of 'Live and Local' style micro-music festivals.

Blue Mountains businesses are being encouraged to complete the bushfire impact survey. The survey takes only a few minutes to complete, and will help the NSW Small Business Commissioner assess the impact of the bush fires on the local economy: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/bushfireSBsurvey2020.

Most council lookouts and reserves have reopened, now that fires surrounding the city have been contained.

"There are lots of small businesses, cafes and shops in the Blue Mountains, waiting for people to come and visit them right now," said the mayor. "So our message is: 'We are open for business. If you love us, come and see us.'

"The best tonic for us, is for people to come back and visit now. Come to the Blue Mountains to shop and stay overnight. That's the way the broader community can help our community.

"Council will continue to support our community to recover from these unprecedented bush fires."

Upcoming Blue Mountains events include:

For a full list of other summer events in the Blue Mountains go to bmcc.nsw.gov.au.