Bushfire Recovery Taskforce
The Tasmanian Bushfires of January 2013 were of a scale unseen in this state in almost 50 years. The catastrophic weather conditions that drove the fires limited the possibilities of containing or preventing widespread damage, destruction and loss. The days and weeks following the fires revealed the
full extent of the damage – to properties, people, businesses and communities – and the consequent scope of the recovery effort that would be required.
On 10 January 2013, the State Government established the Bushfire Recovery Taskforce (the Taskforce) and associated arrangements to oversee recovery efforts across all areas of government and non-government sectors.
Since the formation of the Taskforce, a large number of programs have been developed and implemented to support the clean-up and reconstruction of infrastructure and property, the personal recovery of individuals and families, and the revival of businesses and the economy. At least 320 properties have
been cleaned up, $5.86 million of Red Cross Bushfire Appeal funding has been distributed to individuals and families, 28 community projects have been approved for funding and significant progress has been made on the rebuilding of community infrastructure and private homes.
The role of government in supporting this work, and many other activities of the Taskforce, has been guided by the Tasmanian Bushfires January 2013: Programs for Recovery planning document (PDF), which is a useful reference point if more detail is required.
This report is the final formal publication of the Taskforce. It provides an overview of the recovery framework, details the activity that the Taskforce has implemented through its five program areas since January 2013, and records significant learnings that aim to improve Tasmania's capacity to recover
from future disasters. The Taskforce conducted a review of the recovery process, consulting widely with the community and speaking with those who have been involved with the planning, coordination or delivery of recovery services. Key lessons learned from this review are contained in this document. It
should be noted that the review is not related to the 2013 Tasmanian Bushfires Inquiry Report, conducted by Special Investigator Mal Hyde.
About this report
This report follows the structure used for the Tasmanian Bushfires January 2013: Programs for Recovery planning document, firstly addressing overarching issues in the section entitled 'A Framework for Recovery'. Subsequent sections are allocated to the five program areas that the Bushfire Recovery Unit used for planning and delivery of
activity. Each of these sections outlines:
- What we have delivered
- What we have learnt
The final section details the arrangements that have been made to continue those elements of the formal recovery process that have not yet concluded.
The ReportDownload a print version
- Message from the Chair
- A Framework for Recovery
The State Recovery Plan provides a broad framework that can be tailored to the requirements of each emergency to support the affected community to manage its own recovery. Recovery activities will often begin spontaneously within a community, and it is the role of formal recovery operations to provide
structure and resources to support these initial efforts and guide them over the longer term. The Department of Premier and Cabinet is responsible for providing overall management and leadership of recovery-related activities, where necessary and appropriate.
This section deals with overarching issues relating to the establishment of the framework and its operation from January 2013 to April 2014. It provides a brief outline of what was delivered and reflects on what was learnt.
- Program One: Supporting individuals, families and the community
Aim: To support individuals, families and communities by rebuilding emotional, social and physical wellbeing through community-led, coordinated and planned processes.
- $8.7 million raised through the Red Cross Tasmania Bushfire Appeal.
- $5.86 million in Red Cross Appeal Funds distributed to individuals and families.
- $1.74 million allocated to community projects.
- Specific grants of $400 000 to beyondblue for the Tasmania Child and Family Disaster Response project.
- $300,000 to the Dunalley Tasman Neighbourhood House for the Garden Restoration and Revegetation Project.
- $400,000 allocated as a reserve for long-term recovery.
- $7.5 million in Disaster Recovery Payments by the Australian Government.
- $864,247 in Housing Assistance grants from the Tasmanian and Australian Governments.
- $828,475 in Emergency Assistance grants from the Tasmanian and Australian Governments.
- $1.3 million allocated by the Department of Health and Human Services in 2012-13 and 2013-14 financial years to Public and Environmental health and Social Recovery. This included environmental health support for Sorell and Tasman Councils, help for non-government organisations, and community education
and support, as well as individual support, case management, rebuilding community structure, service coordination and information provision.
- On 21 January the DISH was opened to provide information, services and a friendly face.
- Between January and December 2013, individual support was provided on 905 occasions at the DISH, involving counselling, advocacy, crisis management, personal support or other assistance
- Other assistance at the DISH was provided on over 400 occasions per month in the first half of 2013.
- Clinical psychologist Dr Rob Gordon, a national disaster recovery specialist, visited the Sorell-Tasman area five times and gave community seminars.
- 180 families were provided with temporary housing by Housing Tasmania (everyone who required assistance).
- Program Two: Engaging the community in decisions that affect them
Aim: To ensure bushfire-affected communities are informed and involved in the recovery processes so actions and programs match their needs.
- Formation of the Sorell Tasman Affected Area Committee (STAARC) and the Central Highlands Affected Area Committee (CHAARC)
- $1.74 million approved for 28 Community Assistance Grant projects by March 2014.
- More than 500 community submissions during the Community Assistance Grant projects consultation phase.
- Consultation for the Dunalley and Environs Structure Plan, and Dunalley and Murdunna Concept Master Plans, completed by Inspiring Place and Sorell and Tasman Councils.
- Program Three: Restoring homes, business and community infrastructure
Aim: To assist the community to restore homes, businesses and local infrastructure in a timely manner through the provision of coordinated services and advice.
- The clean-up of 320 properties and removal of 42,000 tonnes of contaminated material
- The re-survey of 129 properties, at a cost of $140,000
- Award-winning Build Back Better Guide for those planning to rebuild
- The Building Expo, a collaboration between government and industry, attended by 90 fire-affected home and shack owners
- Temporary accommodation for 120 people and direct assistance for 17 households staying on their land
- Re-establishment of a temporary Dunalley Primary School, while plans progress for the permanent rebuild
- Planning and design of the Dunalley Community Hall
- Consultation and development of the Dunalley and Environs Structure Plan
- Provision of an additional Environmental Health Officer to assist Sorell and Tasman Councils
- Program Four: Helping the local economy to rebound
Aim: To encourage revitalisation of the economy by working with local businesses to determine the most effective forms of assistance and support.
- $816,863 of grants to 60 small businesses assisted by the Economic Development Officer and funded under Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA)
- $974,938 worth of grants made to 47 eligible primary producers to assist with property clean-up and restoration, managed by DPIPWE under joint Federal and State Government NDRRA
- $75,580 worth of grants to seven not-for-profit organisations
- $510,000 Winter Assistance Package to assist with re-fencing, re-seeding and fodder
- $1.364 million allocated to five loans funded through the Bushfire Recovery Loans initiative
- Provision of an Economic Development Officer from the Department of Economic Development to work specifically with bushfire recovery for 12 months, and the development of a long-term and strategic economic recovery plan
- $250,000 tourism advertising program that created the Tassie Comeback Tour
- $50,000 in cooperative promotion with Tourism Tasmania and local tourism businesses
- $30,000 DEDTA grant to fund the Dunalley Cove Marina Feasibility Study
- $20,000 DEDTA grant for the Dunalley and Environs Structure Plan.
- More than 300 km of fencing rebuilt by BlazeAid
- At least 650 km of fencing constructed with Government assistance, including 137 km through the Tasmania Prisons Service work crews
- Formation of the Sorell Tasman Economic Recovery Group (STERG)
- Program Five: Supporting environmental recovery
Aim: To support environmental recovery of affected areas by assisting landowners with information, advice, and monitoring and rehabilitation projects.
- 42,000 tonnes of hazardous waste removed from fire-affected properties.
- $80,000 grant provided to NRM South to re-establish pasture and shelter belts.
- DPIPWE assistance to 22 properties with high conservation value land.
- $300,000 Community grant for the Dunalley Tasman Neighbourhood House Garden Restoration Program.
- 160 gardening course participants and 30 home gardens assisted by Dunalley Tasman Neighbourhood House.
- $280,000 in vegetation clearance grants distributed from the Red Cross Appeal Funds.
- Partnerships between NRM South, Volunteering Tasmania, Landcare, Plant Aid and Weed Aid.
- $40,000 allocated to weed control in the latter half of 2014.
- Where to from here?
- Personal Stories
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