Second anniversary of Black Summer bushfires

MEDIA RELEASE 2021 - Council flags will fly at half-mast tomorrow to mark the second anniversary of the start of the Black Summer bushfires in the shire.

Flags half mast.30 December 2021

Bega Valley Shire Council flags will fly at half-mast tomorrow to mark the second anniversary of the start of the Black Summer bushfires in the shire.

Acting CEO Anthony McMahon said the community can be proud of what has been achieved over the last two years, although we still have a considerable journey ahead of us.

“Four hundred and sixty-seven homes and about 1,000 sheds and out-buildings were destroyed in the fires that swept through the Bega Valley and four lives were lost,” Mr McMahon said.

“Council continues to work alongside the community and our partners to do whatever we can to assist in recovery and build resilience for the future.

“Our Bushfire Recovery Support Service case managers provide individualised support to those impacted by the bushfires, covering a variety of areas, such as housing and homelessness issues, grant applications, environmental concerns, anxiety and trauma related to anniversaries, and the compounding effect of COVID-19 lockdowns.

“We focus on both current and longer-term recovery needs, and we continue to work closely with other agencies, philanthropic and charitable organisations to specifically address housing and sanitation issues.

““Recovery is an ongoing process—there’s no quick fix—and everyone is at a different stage in their personal recovery journey.

“For many, the anniversary of the Black Summer bushfires will bring back memories and emotional responses.

“It’s important we continue to look after each other by reaching out and checking that friends, neighbours and loved ones are okay.”

Mr McMahon said the pandemic added another level of challenge to the recovery and rebuilding process.

“Over the last two years, 42 new dwellings have been completed and 50 are under construction,” he said.

“COVID-19 lockdowns created a spike in development applications to Council at a time when more people were preparing to rebuild after losing homes during the bushfires.

“Bushfire-affected people remained our priority, as we work to assess record levels of development activity across the shire.”

Mr McMahon said a key priority now was to secure more donations to the Bega Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund so it can continue to support our bushfire impacted residents.

“So far, more than $600,000 has been distributed back into the community. However, there are still many people who need support,” he said.

“We must continue to be there for them, but we need additional donations to do this.”

If you require mental health support, please call the 24-hour Mental Health Line on 1800 011 511.

If you need assistance with urgent temporary housing, please phone Link2Home on 1800 152 152.

The Bega Valley Bushfire Recovery Support Service will reopen on Tuesday 4 January 2022. If you require bushfire recovery support during the holiday shutdown period, please call (02) 6499 2345, leave a message and one of our case workers will be in touch.

You can donate to the Bega Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund via bank deposit online or your local bank branch.

Account Name: SJA Disaster Relief Fund

BSB: 633 000

Account Number: 171 166 317

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