Recovery

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link
Kempsey Shire Council's Bushfire Recovery page is here to support our community recover from the recent bushfires. If you have been affected, there are a range of assistance measures available to support you.

Kempsey Shire Council's Recovery page is here to support our community in its ongoing recovery from the 2019 drought and bushfires. If you have been affected, there are a range of assistance measures available to support you.

Through our dedicated Recovery Team we are working in partnership with the emergency services, State and Federal government agencies, charities and others to deliver this assistance.

To contact Council's Recovery Team call 6566 3200 during office hours.

NSW Bushfire Customer Care Service

For people impacted by bushfire, the NSW Bushfire Customer Care Service will help you navigate the support and financial assistance that's available across all levels of government. Call 13 77 88 or visit www.service.nsw.gov.au to access bushfire recovery information and locations of Service NSW, and Mobile Service Centres.


Kempsey Shire Council's Recovery page is here to support our community in its ongoing recovery from the 2019 drought and bushfires. If you have been affected, there are a range of assistance measures available to support you.

Through our dedicated Recovery Team we are working in partnership with the emergency services, State and Federal government agencies, charities and others to deliver this assistance.

To contact Council's Recovery Team call 6566 3200 during office hours.

NSW Bushfire Customer Care Service

For people impacted by bushfire, the NSW Bushfire Customer Care Service will help you navigate the support and financial assistance that's available across all levels of government. Call 13 77 88 or visit www.service.nsw.gov.au to access bushfire recovery information and locations of Service NSW, and Mobile Service Centres.


  • Recovery Community Grants announcement delayed to February

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link
    15 Jan 2021
    supporting image

    In October, Kempsey Shire Council announced the application process for $300,000 in Recovery Community Grants.

    At the time, applicants were informed that those whose applications were successful would be notified in December.

    Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances, the final meeting of the community panel was postponed in December and since then due to the heavy rainfall and its impacts the panel members have been unable to attend and finalise the list of successful applicants.

    The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday 19 January.

    Presuming that meeting takes place successfully, Council will be considering these recommendations in the following week and announcements are expected to be made in the first or second week of February.

    We apologise for any inconvenience.

  • Black Summer and Beyond Photo Exhibition moves to South West Rocks

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link
    04 Dec 2020
    supporting image

    Off the back of a hugely successful tour of the Upper Macleay, the Black Summer and Beyond travelling exhibition of bushfire and recovery images has been relocated to South West Rocks for the holidays.

    During the Black Summer fires of 2019, all of our coastal communities, including South West Rocks, showed their support by sending RFS crews, providing catering, offering emergency accommodation and making generous donations to those in need.

    To acknowledge these contributions, Kempsey Shire Council has moved the exhibition to four locations across South West Rocks to give residents and visitors the opportunity to view some of the amazing photos that were submitted by our community.

    Council’s Recovery Coordinator, Jo McGoldrick, said its been amazing to see the community’s response to the exhibition.

    “It’s an important exhibition for our community, highlighting not only what we’ve been through in the last 12 months but our recovery and resilience,” she said.

    “I’d like to thank all of the local businesses in South West Rocks who have put up their hands to participate.

    “I hope that over summer our residents and visitors will enjoy viewing these amazing photographs across the five locations.”

    Residents and visitors can view the free exhibition at the following locations:

    • Trial Bay Gaol, 73 Trial Bay Gaol Access Rd, Arakoon

    • South West Rocks Surf Life Saving Club, Livingstone Street

    • Coastline Credit Union, 2 Prince of Wales Ave

    • Sea Breeze Beach Hotel, Livingstone Street

    The exhibition will be in South West Rocks until 20 January before it gets relocated to the Slim Dusty Centre in South Kempsey from Tuesday 26 January 2021.

  • Black Summer and Beyond bushfire photo exhibition opens to amazing response

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link
    12 Nov 2020


    The Black Summer and Beyond exhibition has been declared a tremendous success and a fitting tribute by the community after its opening weekend, with the winner donating her prize to volunteers.

    Black Summer and Beyond - an exhibition of images from the Macleay was officially opened by Kempsey Shire Mayor Liz Campbell at Willawarrin Hall on Saturday, on a weekend that also marked the anniversary of some of the worst days of the Black Summer bushfires impact on the region.

    More than 400 people are estimated to have visited the exhibition over the weekend to see the travelling exhibition of photos taken by the community of the fires, their impact, the immediate response and the recovery by the community and nature over the last 12 months.

    In an emotional speech, Cr Campbell described this as a time to reflect on the past year and recalled her own memories of the days immediately after the fires swept through Willawarrin and Bellbrook.

    “The images will both break your heart and uplift your spirits,” said Cr Campbell.

    “This is a time to reflect on the devastation of what happened 12 months ago. We have so much to reflect on and give thanks for.”

    “What we went through sometimes seems like a blur, but I do remember the bravery, the courage and the kindness of our community.”

    Council received more than 300 submissions from members of the community, including many extraordinary, previously unpublished, photos of the fires, the aftermath and the 12 months of recovery since that time. A selection of these have been mounted in various formats while the remaining photos can be viewed on a slideshow at the exhibition.

    Volunteers from Disaster Relief Australia, formerly known as Team Rubicon, who worked in the area in the days and weeks after the fires, returned for the first time to attend the opening and to judge the winner of Best Photo.

    The award and prize of $500 and an Akubra hat went to Rebecca Gale for her striking black and white image Strength and Resilience. Ms Gale, who lost her home in the fires, declined the $500 prize money choosing instead to donate it to the crew presenting the awards.

    The Disaster Relief Australia team also gave an honourable mention to Adam Dederer for his stunning photo of fires coming over the hill entitled She’s Coming Right For Us.

    A People’s Choice award will also be announced on Tuesday 1 December, at the conclusion of the first three stages of the exhibition.

    The free exhibition is open to the public every day from 10am-3pm on the following dates and locations:

    • Willawarrin Hall, Saturday 7 - Sunday 15 November
    • Bellbrook Hall, Saturday 21 - Tuesday 24 November
    • Sherwood Hall, Friday 27 - Monday 30 November

    Black Summer and Beyond will tour locations in the Upper Macleay before moving to other venues across the shire and beyond in the coming months.

  • $300,000 available in grants for bushfire recovery projects

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link
    09 Oct 2020
    supporting image

    Local not-for-profit community groups are being invited to apply for a share of $300,000 in funding for projects that contribute to the Shire’s recovery after the devastating summer bushfires.

    Under the Bushfire Recovery Community Grants Program, Kempsey Shire Council is offering $300,000 for community-led projects, with a maximum of $30,000 available for any one project.

    Council is encouraging community groups to attend information sessions this month to find out more about the grants. Applications are now open and will close on 17 November.

    Council’s Coordinator Recovery, Jo McGoldrick, said successful projects will need to contribute to the bushfire recovery on a whole of community perspective.

    “We know recovery from drought and fires is a long term project, and it involves the whole community,” said Mrs McGoldrick.

    “Lots of great projects are best carried out by those in the community who are already in groups doing fantastic work. It’s great that Council can give community-led projects a funding boost as it helps ensure our Shire will be on the right path to recovery, preparedness and building on our resilience into the future.”

    Applications will be assessed under the criteria of community need, impact or benefit to the community, community connectedness and capacity to deliver.

    ASSESSMENT CRITERIA

    Applications will be assessed using the following criteria.

    30%

    Community need

    Projects will be assessed on the extent to which the project addresses one (or more) of the Recovery Action Plan

    30%

    Impact or benefit for community

    What will the impact be of your project on the focus category as a result of the project


    30%

    Community connectedness

    Impact of project to improve community and interpersonal connections


    10%

    Capacity to deliver

    Evidence of capacity to successfully complete the project on time, to deliver the proposed outcomes and develop a budget which is relevant and realistic.


    Grant objectives

    Community & Social
    Facilitate the establishment and or development of innovative community projects in line with Kempsey Shire Council's Community Strategic Plan and the Delivery Plan

    Built Environment

    Increase the participation, accessibility and range of quality community and sporting activities and/or programs for the residents of the Kempsey Macleay Local Government Area (LGA).


    Economic Recovery

    Create authentic and vibrant public places that are valued by their communities and admired by their visitors



    Natural Environment


    Protect the region's diverse habitats and ecosystems


    Community information sessions will be held on:

    • 6pm Thursday 22 October at Council’s Civic Centre in West Kempsey
    • 6pm Tuesday 27 October at the Willawarrin Hall

    The grants have been made available for Council to deliver to the community thanks to the Federal Government, National Bushfire Recovery Agency and the NSW State Government through Resilience NSW as part of the Bushfire Community Recovery and Resilience Fund.

    To submit an application, go to the Smartygrants website here

    More information can be found on Council’s Recovery website

    Alternatively, contact Council on 6566 3200 and ask for someone from Recovery for more information.

    Applications close on 17 November.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    How much funding is available?
    $300,000 is available for community led projects across the Kempsey Shire. A maximum of $30,000 is available for any one project.

    Where did these funds come from?
    The Australian Federal Government, National Bushfire Recovery Agency and NSW State Government through Resilience NSW have funded the program as part of the Bushfire Community Recovery and Resilience Fund.

    What are the eligibility criteria?
    Groups that apply are required to be not-for-profit with an Australian ABN and Public Liability Insurance. The project must contribute to the bushfire recovery on a whole of community perspective (not individuals)

    What if our group is not a registered not-for-profit, can we still apply?
    Yes you can but you will need to auspiced (sponsored) by a group that is a registered not-for-profit.

    How does a group apply?
    Applications are made through an online website called SmartyGrants. To apply you will need a computer with internet access. The link can be found on the Macleay Valley Recovery website

    Can any group in the Shire apply?
    Yes, however for an application to be successful the project needs to align with Bushfire Recovery outcomes. A copy of the Kempsey Shire Bushfire Recovery Plan can be located at the Macleay Valley Recovery website

    What do I do if I do not have a computer?
    Council’s libraries have computers with internet access. Make sure you call beforehand. Phone Kempsey Shire Library on 6566 3200. Alternatively, make an appointment at the Recovery Hub for further assistance.

    Are there any special conditions upon receipt of the funds in terms of the expenditure?
    There is an expectation that applicants will engage local (within the Kempsey Shire) contractors and service providers to ensure the funds have wide community benefit.

    Who will assess the applications?
    An Expression of Interest process was held to identify suitable community members to work with Council as part of a Bushfire Recovery Community Grants Advisory Panel. The Panel will make recommendations as to the successful applicants to Council’s Recovery Working Party, led by the General Manager for final approval.

    What are the assessment criteria?
    The appointed Panel will assess each application on merit, including its alignment to the Recovery Action Plan focus areas. Please review full assessment criteria at the Macleay Valley Recovery website

    When do applications open?
    Applications open on 9 October and close on 17 November 2020.

    When will groups know if they have been successful in securing a grant?
    Successful groups will be contacted by Council in December 2020

  • Hundreds of photos submitted for bushfire photo exhibition

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link
    29 Oct 2020
    supporting image

    The community has offered a number of amazing, high-quality images of last year’s bushfires and subsequent recovery for the forthcoming Black Summer & Beyond exhibition.

    Kempsey Shire Council have been overwhelmed by the response for their call for photos and have now commenced the process of selecting and mounting the photos to be used in the exhibition which opens on Saturday 7 November.

    Black Summer and Beyond - an exhibition of images from the Macleay is a travelling photographic exhibition that will move across the shire to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the 2019 fires.

    Council received well over 300 submissions from members of the community, with shots taken of the fires, the aftermath and the 12 months of recovery since that time.

    Council’s Coordinator Recovery, Jo McGoldrick, thanked the community for their incredible images and hoped to see an equally enthusiastic response to the exhibition.

    “This exhibition marks a hugely important event in our community, but also the incredible people and their response,” said Mrs McGoldrick.

    “It is almost a year since the fires swept through Willawarrin and Bellbrook. We didn’t want to mark a single day as an anniversary, as the damage, the impact and the response lasted for weeks and months.”

    The exhibition will officially be opened by the Mayor at 10am on Saturday 7 November at Willawarrin Hall, before touring around the shire.

    The exhibition will be open to the public every day from 10am – 3pm on the following dates and locations:

    •Willawarrin Hall, Sat 7 – Sun 15 November

    •Bellbrook Hall, Sat 21 – Tue 24 November

    •Sherwood Hall, Fri 27 – Mon 30 November

    Council staff will be available to link people with support services, including mental health support throughout the run.

    “Between the anniversary and the forthcoming summer, it is perfectly normal for many in the community to find themselves once again dealing with complex and difficult emotions,” said Mrs McGoldrick.

    “At the same time, we think it is important to mark this end of a significant chapter. During the fires there were images on every screen, then we put those thoughts away and faced the future together. Now we think it is important to look back and record the terrible and the beautiful in one exhibition.”

    For more information about the exhibition or for assistance with recovery matters please call the Recovery Hub on 6566 3200 or visit yoursay.macleay.nsw.gov.au/recovery.

  • ABC TV film documentary on Kempsey Shire's bushfires

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link
    21 Oct 2020
    The ABC recently visited our upriver communities to talk to residents about their experiences during last summer's devastating bushfires.

    "It takes a disaster for everyone to pull together."

    It’s been nearly 12 months since devastating fires tore through the Kempsey Shire in NSW, and the community is working together with the Thungutti people to prepare for the upcoming bushfire season.


  • Wittitrin Progress Association Meeting

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link
    07 Oct 2020
    supporting image

    The Wittitrin Progress Association invites all Yessabah and Wittitrin residents to attend a meeting of the Wittitrin Progress Association at the Wittitrin Fire Shed on Clarke’s Road at 3pm Sunday, 11th October.

    Topics for discussion:

    • Formation of Wittitrin Fire Brigade
    • Keeping access roads open
    • Upkeep of fire breaks
    • Improved, centralisation communication network
    • General Business

    Any questions, please contact Wittitrin Progress Association Group on Facebook or ask for Michael on 6562 8999.

    Please bring a plate for afternoon tea!

  • We want your photos!

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link
    28 Sep 2020
    supporting image

    Council are calling for the community to send in their photos of the bushfires and our recovery for Black Summer and Beyond - an exhibition of images from the Macleay being held across the shire to commemorate the one year anniversary of the 2019 fires.

    Let your photos tell our story

    If as the saying goes, a picture only tells a thousand words, then we are going to need a lot of them.

    It is hard to imagine that it has almost been a year since the bushfires swept through so much of our shire. The journey that we have been on since that time, both as a community and as individuals, needs and deserves to be shared and recorded.

    That is why Council want your photos of the last twelve months.

    The exhibition

    The best photos will be selected to create an exhibition of images that tell the story of the fires and our recovery. The exhibition will be entitled ‘lack Summer and Beyond - an exhibition of images from the Macleay and your photos will be mounted and put on display in a traveling exhibition that everyone in the shire will have an opportunity to see.

    And there will be prizes for Best Photo and People's Choice! So please send us your photos.

    What photos should I submit?

    Any that speak to you of the last year of disaster and recovery. Perhaps in those darkest days you took a shot with your phone of the fires, the smoke, or the many, many heroes who stepped up from our community. Or maybe you snapped a photo of our beautiful natural environment in the immediate aftermath or as it has returned to its stunning green best.

    And of course we want just as many photos of our community responding over the last year as we have rebuilt and resumed life in this great shire.

    How do I submit photos?

    If you have any photos at all and would like to submit them for the exhibition, please send them to blacksummer@kempsey.nsw.gov.au or for more information call our Recovery team on 6566 3200.

    By submitting your photos, you warrant that you have the right to publish the images and licence Council to use these images for the purposes of creating a public exhibition and in future communications.

    Entries Close 28 October 2020

  • BlazeAid Civic Reception

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link
    24 Sep 2020
    supporting image

    "When you do a fence, you are not only repairing a fence, you are repairing someone’s soul."

    These were the words that one BlazeAid volunteer used to describe the work they have been doing in the Upper Macleay.

    As such, it was fitting that on Wednesday Kempsey Shire Council held a Civic Reception to thank the BlazeAid volunteers at the Garden Bar at Frederickton.

    It has been 10 months since BlazeAid began rebuilding fences across the Kempsey Shire. Since then 279 farmers have registered in the program, with BlazeAid completing 254 projects on properties thanks to 265 volunteers.

    BlazeAid volunteers have rebuilt 127.3km of fencing in the Macleay Valley and have cleared 95.3km of fencing in 3881 volunteer days.

    Eric Boyce, who along with his wife Denise has been part of the program since 2 December, said it was rewarding to see the change in farmers' outlooks.

    “To see the country change from all the adversity it’s been through from drought to fire and then to see the difference BlazeAid volunteers have made is rewarding,” Eric said.

  • Bellbrook cabins

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link
    17 Sep 2020
    supporting image

    Overlooking the idyllic banks of the Macleay River sit the Bellbrook Cabins.

    From this position there is nothing but green lush mountains as far as the eye can see and crystal clear flowing waters below.

    It’s a far cry from the burnt landscape just 10 months ago.

    “You could see the fire come across the ridge behind Bellbrook and head to Willawarrin,” said David Wilcock who runs the cabins with his partner Michelle Armson.

    That night they were told to gather at Bellbrook school as they were ‘in real danger’ where they were fed and looked after.

    The next day they made the ‘terrifying’ journey down to Kempsey with police escort as the fire lapped the side of the road.

    “All the scrub on the side of the road was on fire,” he said.

    They then spent 10 days at Kempsey Showground before they were allowed back home.

    “We will never forget the kindness we were shown,” he said.

    “It was trying but everyone was so welcoming.”

    When they went home they were met with a resilient community where strangers and neighbours helped those in need.

    They did everything from feeding the animals to bringing fodder for cattle and there was even a band of helpers working around the block to cook meals for the Bellbrook Rural Fire Bridge.

    “We really saw the best of the community, who rallied around each other,” he said.

    The couple want to send a message of thanks to the community they have been part of for seven years having owned the cabins for more than three and previously managed the general store.

    They also want those in the region to know that they are open for business and have a COVID-19 safety plan in place.

    “There is nothing better than sitting on the verandah of the cabins watching a sunset over the mighty Macleay,” Mr Wilcock said.

    “This is our backyard and we are so fortunate to be able to look at this every day of the week.”