THE RICHMOND Valley and Kyogle are among eight areas across NSW that have been declared Natural Disaster Areas following bush fires that occurred between August and October this year.
Federal Minister for Emergency Management, Nicola Roxon and NSW Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Michael Gallacher announced the eight Natural Disaster Declarations on Friday which cover the following Local Government Areas, for the following periods:
- Clarence Valley (18-30 August 2012)
- Kempsey (21-26 August 2012)
- Clarence Valley, Richmond Valley, and Tenterfield (6-17 September 2012)
- Kiama (5-7 September 2012)
- Port Macquarie Hastings (4-13 October 2012)
- Singleton (5-12 October 2012)
- Kyogle, Richmond Valley, Clarence Valley and Tenterfield (7-13 October 2012)
- Gloucester, Upper Hunter, and Great Lakes (8-29 October 2012)
While these Natural Disaster Declarations were for fires that did not result in significant damage to homes, businesses or council property, due to the significant costs associated with fighting the fires, these events have met the criteria for a Natural Disaster Declaration and the NSW Government has acted accordingly.
Mr Gallacher reiterated a call that he made in late November about the summer disaster season and ensuring everyone in bush fire prone areas is prepared.
"Summer has arrived and it's time to think about what you and your family need to do to be disaster ready. Whether at home or away on holiday, undertaking some simple precautions can save lives and property," Mr Gallacher said.
"Having a conversation with your family and making a plan about what you will do in the event of a disaster is one of the most important things you can do.
"Making a plan is not difficult and it could save you and your family this summer. Cleaning up around your home can make a big difference.
"I would again like to thank the hard working volunteers of the Rural Fire Service and our other emergency services, for their tireless efforts in protecting homes and businesses from the threat of bush fires," Mr Gallacher said.
Ms Roxon said that these natural disaster declarations trigger a number of disaster assistance schemes to assist with the cost of disaster relief and recovery.
These disaster assistance schemes are made available by the NSW Government through the NSW Disaster Assistance Arrangements and they are supported by the Commonwealth Government through the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements.
"These assistance packages are part of our commitment to helping disaster-affected communities with their recovery," Ms Roxon said.
"Emergency Management Australia has been working closely with New South Wales authorities to ensure local government, community organisations and individuals have support during this difficult period," Ms Roxon said.
Continue to stay up to date with the bush fire situation by checking the RFS's website, listening to your local radio station or by calling the NSW RFS Bush Fire Information Line on 1800 679 737.
If your life is at risk, call Triple Zero (000) immediately.