Bushfire – response and recovery

South East NSW Bushfire Crisis – Impact, Response & Recovery Report

The widespread devastation wreaked across South Eastern New South Wales by the 2019-20 bushfires has been widely recognised. Less recognised is that throughout the crisis and beyond, community service organisations have been on the ground providing support to affected individuals, families and communities.

From alert to evacuation to post-fire recovery, providers across a range of sectors including aged care, disability, child and family, homelessness and more have witnessed and experienced first-hand the successes and challenges of disaster recovery.

As the regional peak body for these services, Community Industry Group has met with service providers to gain insight into what worked well, what didn’t work, and what learnings can be implemented to improve outcomes for future disasters.

This report describes the overall impact of the bushfire crisis, as well as the recovery and response processes that took place and/or are currently taking place. Importantly, it also documents some of the personal reflections and stories of the people working to support individuals, families and communities impacted by bushfire – either directly or indirectly. The long term-consequences of the crisis are analysed with recommendations for immediate and future actions included.

Community Industry Group has worked directly with service providers in disaster-affected areas, and has seen and heard first-hand accounts of the impact on individuals, families and communities. We have heard about what has been and is currently being done, what should be done, and how bushfire affected communities are recovering and rebuilding.

The report includes real life examples of the hardships people faced and are currently facing. It also recognises the often extraordinary efforts of community services workers during the crisis, and post-crisis.

Our grateful thanks is extended to these individuals and organisations for so generously giving their time, to ensure this report is thorough and factual.

To read the report click here.

Housing and Homelessness – Our Recommendations:

  • $5 million per year for 5 years ($25m) additional program funding for services which support communities in the bushfire impacted areas in South East NSW, including crisis accommodation and outreach services.
  • Inclusionary zoning – at least 15% affordable housing in new developments, to be introduced across NSW.
  • Innovative finance solutions to develop more social housing:
    – Public Housing to be classed as public infrastructure to open up investment options (i.e. Waratah Bonds).
    – Government to work with industry to develop Affordable Housing using institutional investment.
  • The development of an Affordable Housing Strategy for all NSW Local Government Areas.Permanently increase income support payments to ensure recipients are living above the poverty line, and able to secure safe and appropriate housing.

Click here for a our printable flyer detailing these issues and recommendations.

Click here for our media release about homelessness in South East NSW.

Click here to see our campaign for the implementation of our recommendations and templates to help you with your own advocacy.

Click here for our printable recommendation summary flyer.

Homelessness in South East NSW video

Community Industry Group has worked directly with service providers in the disaster affected areas of the South East of NSW, and has seen and heard first-hand accounts of the impact on individuals, families and communities.

Trauma after a bushfire

This video resource has been created to help you understand how to support someone who has lived through a traumatic event, like a bushfire, so you know what to say and do and when to seek professional help.

Aged Care in a bushfire

Bushfires devastated the Far South Coast. We asked Aged Care Providers across Eurobodalla and the Bega Valley what worked, what didn’t and what could be improved?