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The Taskforce recognises that the process of recovery from the January 2013 fires may take many years for families, individuals and communities, and may never be complete for some people. However, the major organisational tasks associated with the recovery are now either complete, or well advanced towards completion.
This section outlines plans for those structures and services that will remain in place for a defined period, and other processes and programs that are being handed over to appropriate organisations to manage longer term.
The Taskforce has discharged the roles and functions for which it was established, and has made appropriate arrangements to formally conclude as a Ministerial Committee under the Emergency Management Act 2006.
As detailed in other sections, the Red Cross Appeal Distribution Committee has approved funds for a variety of purposes and has therefore concluded the majority of its responsibilities. A relatively small amount of funding remains unallocated, and the Committee will be called upon at some point in the future to finalise decisions in connection with this. The Office of Security and Emergency Management (OSEM) will coordinate any required secretariat or other processes to enable this to occur.
The Bushfire Monetary Donations Subcommittee will continue to operate until it has completed the tasks relevant to its terms of reference. The collaboration between the various representatives on this sub-committee is highly valued and may continue for some time, with the involvement of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) as a coordinating body.
With the disbanding of the Central Highlands Affected Area Recovery Committee in August 2013, governance of all activity related to bushfire recovery returned to the usual approach. The Central Highlands Council and the Tasmanian Government, along with non-government organisations, have managed the transition.
Sorell Tasman Affected Area Recovery Committee will continue to operate under its terms of reference, which were updated in August 2013 to reflect the evolving nature of the work required and a higher level of community involvement. The group continues to meet regularly and fulfil its role of coordinating recovery activities.
Over the next 12 to 18 months STAARC will play a central part in guiding the variety of projects taking place throughout the district, including those that have been funded through the Community Assistance Grants provided from the Red Cross Bushfire Appeal.
Sorell Council is coordinating a master planning process for Dunalley, which has involved community consultation and the creation of a number of concept drawings that have assisted in generating interest in possible future developments for the area. This echoes the approach taken for Murdunna by Tasman Council in connection with the proposed upgrades to community infrastructure.
STAARC will continue to play a role in guiding these projects, although the contract management will be carried out by DPAC and much of the project oversight and management will be undertaken by the relevant council.
Beyond June, any emerging bushfire recovery related issues will be addressed through OSEM, or referred to an appropriate department or service provider. The Unit’s 1800 toll-free number will remain in place until the end of June 2014 to ensure that bushfire-affected individuals retain easy access to government services. The use of this service will be monitored so that a decision regarding closure or appropriate alternative arrangements can be made at that time.
DPAC will continue to cover the operating costs of the DISH, and will do so until the end of June 2014. At that time, DPAC will coordinate tasks associated with the closure of the DISH, such as concluding the lease.
DHHS’s Social and Personal Support program continues to operate out of the DISH, although its services are gradually reducing. From the end of January 2014, the DISH reduced its operating hours to four days per week, with a further reduction to three days taking effect at the end of April. The Social and Personal Support team will transition the services that they provide across to an alternative provider or providers between May and June, so that all service provided by DHHS from the DISH will conclude by the end of June 2014.
DHHS will continue to provide a supporting role between NGOs, local government and government services beyond June 2014 to ensure that the effective collaboration between the organisations continues. DHHS will also be involved in the transition to existing recovery resources and relevant committees post-June 2014.
Existing clients of the Social and Personal Support program will continue to receive services that are appropriate for their needs, and services will be available for new clients. No end date has been determined for this service as interstate experience has shown that the need for counselling and other personal support services can extend for several years beyond an event such as a bushfire.
Other services provided at the DISH include the St Vincent de Paul Op Shop and Lions Club Tool Library. The Op Shop will close in June 2014 as the other services are concluding. Arrangements for storage and access of goods are still being finalised, with the aim of retaining the convenience of a local outlet. Similarly, the Tool Library will be relocated to a convenient and secure alternative location.
The Department of Education advises that the rebuild of the Dunalley Primary School is likely to be complete in time for opening in 2016. The temporary classroom facilities will continue to operate until such time as the new developments are operational. The school gym redevelopment, which includes a fully equipped teaching kitchen is expected to be complete and operational by mid-2014.
Similarly, planning and approvals processes for the Dunalley Community Hall are well advanced. The new building is likely to be complete and operational in early 2015. It is recognised that in the meantime, the Dunalley community has no dedicated facility for meetings and functions, however the Dunalley Tasman Neighbourhood House, the Dunalley Primary School and the Halls and Reserves Committee have all agreed to make their respective facilities available on request, until the Community Hall is open.
Projects that have been funded through the Community Assistance Grants provided from the Red Cross Bushfire Appeal have been formalised in contracts (usually Grant Deeds) with DPAC representing the Crown. As such, responsibility lies with DPAC to ensure that the terms and conditions are met, the project activities are completed and any audit, reporting and acquittal requirements are fulfilled. As the timeframe for conclusion of these tasks is likely to be up to two years, the Unit is transferring oversight of these responsibilities to OSEM, with support from the Community Development Division of DPAC, which will see them to conclusion.
The day-to-day management of the projects will remain in the hands of the project proponents, and STAARC and the local councils will play an active role in ensuring that the activities are completed. The largest of the projects are being led by the councils, and arrangements have been made to closely manage these projects to conclusion, and to facilitate appropriate involvement of the community. An allocation of funds has been made available from the Appeal for this purpose.