Rates Relief, DA Fee Waivers and more on Agenda as part of Council’s proposed Bushfire Relief Program

Rates Relief, DA Fee Waivers and more on Agenda as part of Council’s proposed Bushfire Relief Program

Posted on: 07.02.2020

The start of 2020 has seen Wollondilly Council provide a range of measures to support the community during and after the catastrophic bushfire event, including the establishment of a Community Recovery Information Centre, collection and distribution of donations, management of the Mayoral Relief Fund, bushfire waste drop off services, tree clean-up operations and ongoing support to the RFS.

Council will now look at a range of further actions to assist with local community recovery at an Extraordinary meeting on Tuesday 11 February.

Proposed actions include waiving development application fees for residents who have lost property in the bushfire emergency.

Fees that may be waived will include pre-lodgement advice fees, construction and occupation certificate fees, pool inspection fees and other related application fees under Section 68 of the Local Government Act.

The NSW Office of Emergency Management has advised that 15 homes were destroyed and another 15 damaged in the Wollondilly Local Government area, with 66 outbuildings destroyed and 45 damaged. There were 8 facilities destroyed and three damaged and a total of 273 impacted rural landholders.

The cost to Council of waiving the fees for all affected businesses and residential properties would be approximately $500,000.

Mayor Matthew Deeth has also welcomed the $1 million Federal Government grant to assist with bushfire recovery projects and expenses.

“Council will need to decide how this money will best be spent to help get the Wollondilly community back on its feet,” he said.

“We will be looking at offering rates payment assistance for those who lost their homes during the fire emergency.”

The proposed Rates Payment Assistance Scheme would cover rates for up to two years for ratepayers whose homes were lost in the fires. Those whose homes were significantly damaged could expect to receive a grant to cover up to one year of their rates.

Money from the Recovery Grant may also include a memorial at Telopea Park Buxton to pay tribute to the memory of Deputy Captain Geoffrey Keaton and Firefighter Andrew O'Dwyer, who tragically lost their lives in Buxton while serving the community during the bushfire crisis.

Mayor Deeth said, “We would also like to express our heartfelt thanks and congratulations to the Rural Fire Services, NSW Fire and Rescue, NSW Police, the State Emergency Service and all organisations and volunteer groups who provided such amazing help during this time.”

“It was impressive to see our Wollondilly community come together as a whole with courage and selflessness to support each other through the crisis and in its aftermath,” he said.