Blue Mountains City Council will receive $250,000 under the Bushfire Community Resilience and Economic Recovery Fund to roll-out locally-led community and economic recovery activities in the wake of the bushfires.
Liberal Senator for Western Sydney, Senator Marise Payne, said the funding boost would further enable council to deliver rapid, targeted recovery initiatives.
This is in addition to the $1 million from the National Bushfire Recovery Fund received on January 10, also through the Commonwealth-State disaster recovery funding arrangements.
"We know that getting funding on the ground is absolutely vital during the recovery process - this is the feedback I have received from across the Blue Mountains community, including at a tourism-focused round table I held on January 28 in Wentworth Falls," Senator Payne told the Gazette.
The funding will assist council to deliver timely, small-scale projects to support local business and industry recovery, community resilience and wellbeing, she said.
"The government's response to the bushfires of recent months is not 'set and forget," Senator Payne said.
"I have, for example, received feedback about the need to ensure that the government's $76 million tourism package is sufficiently localised, and I have raised this with my parliamentary colleagues. Future funding announcements will continue to reflect that the bushfire recovery effort is being locally-led."
Senator Payne said they would continue to monitor the situation on the ground and take advice from the National Bushfire Recovery Agency, business and community groups, and other stakeholders.
Blue Mountains City Council Mayor Mark Greenhill said he would meet with the senator for Western Sydney next week to discuss the recovery process.
Senator Payne said through the funding package, council would be able to provide practical support to businesses by local holding workshops or industry forums.
Member of the Legislative Council and Blue Mountains resident Shayne Mallard MP also welcomed the funding announcement.
"As a local resident I know that after the initial impact of the fires has passed its the local businesses that also emerge deeply affected by the fires. This funding will support our local small businesses get back on their feet and complements other initiatives including deferring GST BAS returns and cash grants." Mr Mallard added.
Funding will be administered by the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment Regional NSW Group under an arrangement with NSW Office of Emergency Management, and in consultation with Emergency Management Australia.
Meanwhile Federal Member for Macquarie Susan Templeman has welcomed additional funding provided for both Blue Mountains and Hawkesbury City Councils.
The National Bushfire Recovery Agency yesterday announced it would provide more funding for fire-affected Local Government Areas so councils could deal with issues such as rebuilding damaged or destroyed assets, and host activities that brought communities together.
The NSW Government has also announced additional funding for fire-affected councils to host events that support local businesses.
Ms Templeman said while the funding was welcome, more needed to be done to provide struggling local businesses with direct financial support, and to encourage tourism to the regions.
"There is no doubt our councils need additional funding to tackle the big infrastructure issues following these natural disasters, and we have all been in agreement about that," Ms Templeman said.
"But unfortunately businesses are not asking for workshops, they are asking for grant assistance to help sustain them through these really tough times.
"Today, another small business in Katoomba told me they are not eligible for business grants because they didn't burn down. But their business has been directly affected by the fires, as has nearly every Mountains and Hawkesbury small business that in any way relies on tourism.
"Most need financial assistance to pay the bills and keep their staff.
"Local residents rely on our small businesses for jobs, and many people's hours have been cut down dramatically because of the drop in tourism as a result of these natural disasters. I urge the federal government to consider more financial support for our local businesses to help keep our region working."