New bushfire grants to help Wide Bay communities recover

Wide Bay communities still recovering from the Black Summer bushfires will soon have a fresh opportunity to apply for funding, Federal Member for Wide Bay and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives Llew O’Brien announced today.

Mr O’Brien said the new $280 million Black Summer Bushfire Recovery grants program will open in mid-2021 to community organisations, businesses and councils, covering Local Government Areas that were disaster-declared as a result of the 2019-20 bushfires.

“We know that bushfire recovery is a long haul for communities and local councils, so this is a great chance to access funding for priorities in areas like Noosa that were affected by the fires,” Mr O’Brien said.

“The new Black Summer Bushfire Recovery grants will be delivered directly by the Australian Government, to help communities address priority recovery work that hasn’t yet been supported under other funding programs.”

Mr O’Brien said the grant criteria and process would be as simple and flexible as possible, and the grants were being announced early to ensure communities had plenty of time to consider local needs and projects before applications open later this year. 

“While details and the guidelines are still to come, the new grants program is expected to fund a broad range of projects, from community wellbeing projects right through to environmental ones, and we’re getting the grants on people’s radar early so people can be prepared,” he said. 

Minister for Emergency Management David Littleproud MP said this funding is part of the Australian Government’s $2 billion National Bushfire Recovery Fund.

The $280 million is made of unspent funds from the National Bushfire Recovery Fund, which had lower than expected take-up for some of the demand-driven programs, plus the previously announced $98.5 million Complementary Projects fund.

This is a clear example of the Australian Government working hard to make sure any unspent funds goes to where it is now needed the most.

“We know that recovery is a long haul and communities are still struggling more than a year after the devastating bushfire season of 2019-20,” Minister Littleproud said.

“This funding will help them continue their recovery, making sure that every dollar from the National Bushfire Recovery Fund is being used where it’s needed most.”

Guidelines and funding criteria will be available in mid-2021 with grant rounds expected to open shortly after that and funding to be delivered to successful applicants from December 2021.

Potential applicants can express their interest in receiving further information, once it is available, via the online Black Summer grants contact form at www.bushfirerecovery.gov.au/grants-program.