Tag: Federal Government
The NSW Government has committed $1 billion to help rebuild bushfire-ravaged communities, as authorities confirmed blazes have destroyed 1,870 homes around the state this season.
- The money is on top of $200 million already committed by the NSW Government
- It will be spent on infrastructure
- The NSW Treasurer said he wanted fire-impacted communities to “thrive”
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced the cash injection this morning, and said her Government was “stepping up”.
The money will go towards repairing and rebuilding damaged infrastructure such as roads, rail lines, bridges, schools, health clinics and communications facilities.
It comes on top of more than $200 million already committed by the State Government, and a $2 billion national fund provided by the Federal Government.
“Of course, we are always standing shoulder to shoulder with those impacted by this devastating catastrophe that’s come to New South Wales,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“We are stepping up to the support.”
The Premier said her Government’s money would be used for infrastructure, while the Federal cash would go directly to people.
“It’s been determined that the Federal Government’s contribution, our [state’s] share of the $2 billion, will go towards direct payments, to individuals, local businesses or councils,” she said.
The figures come as the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) confirmed 1,870 homes have been razed by bushfires this season — a number likely to rise as assessments continue.
The RFS said a further 753 homes had been damaged this season.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Monday announced his Government would commit an additional $2 billion over two years to set up a new national bushfire recovery agency.
The agency will be led by former Australia Federal Police commissioner Andrew Colvin.
That investment is in addition to existing assistance available, such as income replacement payments and support from the Defence Force.
NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said the NSW Government was committed to helping fire-affected communities.
“We don’t want simply to rebuild the communities, we want them to thrive, and this $1 billion investment will do just that,” he said.
“We know that this won’t happen overnight’s that this will take time and those who are affected, we say to you that we have your back now and well into the future.”
Fire crews have been taking advantage of cooler conditions this week to prepare for another challenging day tomorrow, with hot weather expected in several areas.
Bureau of Meteorology acting state manager Grahame Reader said temperatures were set to be around the low 40s tomorrow, reaching the mid-40s in Western Sydney, with strong winds stoking fire danger.
“After a relative respite in the weather this week, we are expecting another significant spike in conditions tomorrow,” he said.
Hot and dry north-westerly winds will move to a vigorous southerly change in the afternoon, bringing with it gusts of up to 90 kilometres per hour.
Fire danger will reduce over the weekend but the smoke that has been lingering all week is unlikely to dissipate, he said.
Stay across our bushfire coverage:
- Bushfire smoke plume expected to lap the globe, NASA predicts
- Government pledges $50m for fire-affected wildlife as koalas may become endangered
- First all-Indigenous NSW firefighting crews protecting sacred sites, remote communities
- Australia fires photos show startling transformation before and after destruction
- We crunched the numbers on bushfires and arson — the results might surprise you
- Analysis: As Australia burns, Scott Morrison is rattling off an alibi
- Wildlife experts say over a billion animals now dead in NSW bushfires
Tarbuck Bay 2428
A Sydney mother has described how she and her children were forced to flee on foot through the bush as a fast-moving bushfire closed in on the wooden holiday house they were renting.
Tracey Corbin-Matchett and her family were staying in the rental at Tarbuck Bay, north of Newcastle, on Saturday.
She said they had just sat down to eat dinner when her husband Greg noticed something was wrong.
“Hubby went to get a glass of water to have with dinner, and there was no water, so he said, ‘Oh, the power must be out’,” she told the ABC.
“He went [outside] to check the fuse box and saw further down that there was smoke coming up, there must be a fire down at the road, not realising it was actually on our property.”
Ms Corbin-Matchett said the family decided to leave immediately, only taking some clothes with them in the car.
They figured they wouldn’t be gone too long.
“[We] left behind everyone’s Christmas presents and surfboards and stuff and drove down the driveway of the property, which is quite a long, winding driveway.”
But as they neared the end of the path, Ms Corbin-Matchett said they realised the fire was right in front of them. Strong winds had brought down a tree at the edge of the property, which then knocked over a power line, sparking the blaze.
Making matters worse, the fallen tree and powerline were blocking the end of the driveway.
“We had to reverse back up the driveway, with the car in reverse as the fire was chasing us, thinking that if we could sort of scramble into the house it would be safe,” she said.
Ms Corbin-Matchett (second from right), her daughters Sage and Aurora and son Zahn (centre), all had to flee the property on foot — her husband Greg (second from left) stayed behind. (Supplied)
‘My son only had socks on — he ran like a champion’
Back inside, the family realised staying put was not a safe option either.
“By the time we got to the house, fire had come over the balcony,” Ms Corbin-Matchett said.
In video footage shot by one of her teenage daughters, flames are seen shooting up trees just near the edge of the wooden balcony. Ms Corbin-Matchett can be heard in the background, talking to emergency services over the phone.
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“Hubby in his quick thinking said, ‘Get out of the house, this is not going to be safe, you guys run through the bush,'” she said.
“My son only had socks on, he’s only nine — he ran like a champion. My daughters are 17 and 15, they just ran.
“I was running on pure adrenaline, it honestly felt like I was running through quicksand … I was trying not to show panic, but I was absolutely panicked.”
Ms Corbin-Matchett and her children ended up in a neighbouring property owned by an elderly couple, who she said were “a bit surprised” to see them running into their backyard.
The NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) soon arrived and sent a truck to the holiday house, helping Mr Matchett get the family’s car off the property through a back way, avoiding the downed powerline.
“The RFS came, they were amazing. They’re so calm and they just know what to do, what to say,” Ms Corbin-Matchett said.
“They were cuddling the kids, the waterbombers were going over, they were giving us instructions on where to go and how to get out.”
The fire ended up circling back towards the neighbouring property, which also needed to be evacuated.
Ms Corbin-Matchett said the elderly couple, who had a little wildlife sanctuary on their property, were picked up by friends and taken somewhere safe.
“I hope for that beautiful old couple — that was their home that they’ve lived in for a very long time — that it’s okay and that their animals are okay,” she said.
“We don’t know what the [holiday] house is like, it was pretty close, as you can see from the video, the flames were right on the house … Hubby’s gone back today to see what’s left.”
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Now back home in Sydney, Ms Corbin-Matchett said what happened to her family could happen to anyone, and praised the “brilliant” work of the RFS firefighters who helped them.
“We were literally just sitting down for a lovely roast lamb dinner, ready to go for a surf — just the quintessential Aussie holiday — and that happens.”
The Smiths Lake area where the family was holidaying did not have any active fires at the time of the blaze, so there were no warnings in place at the time.
“It was a bit of a series of unfortunate events, but we’re very lucky, we’re back home today in the Shire thanking our lucky stars that we are safe,” Ms Corbin-Matchett said.
“It just happened in a minute, and with no warning, absolutely no warning.”