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Filling the gaps in bushfire recovery

Photo: Chris Horsburgh, Recovery Project Lead and Anne Leydon, Manager Recovery Health and Wellbeing.

Photo: Chris Horsburgh, Recovery Project Lead and Anne Leydon, Manager Recovery Health and Wellbeing.

Thursday, 28 May, 2020

As the Bega Valley moves towards our sixth month of bushfire response and recovery an opportunity is being created to check-in on need and with each other.

“So much has already been achieved, but the task ahead remains enormous. Given the size and complexity of the effort needed, everyone involved is mindful of people and needs falling through the cracks,” Chris Horsburgh, Council’s Recovery Project Lead said.

Bega Valley Shire Council and the NSW Government are committed to supporting each member of our community in the days, months and years ahead. The Bega Valley Recovery Needs Survey has been launched as a way of monitoring that progress and planning for the future.

“Our black summer has change everyone and everything forever, the emotions, reactions and tasks big and small that flow from that are changing all the time and now coming out of COVID-19 it’s important we reset and go forward together,” Mr Horsburgh said.

To this end, Council has partnered with Service NSW and Resilience NSW to develop a short survey that will be delivered to everyone who has registered with the Bega Valley Recovery Support Service.

The survey can be completed as a hard/printed copy, online or over the phone.

“Communication channels have been an issue from day one for people, so we need to make the survey easy and accessible so that we get as big a picture as possible,” Mr Horsburgh said.

Answers to the recovery survey will help the lead agencies:

  • Better understand individual needs and identify how we can all help
  • Keep people informed about assistance that is available and refer people to services that can help.

“There are over 1,900 people and families registered with the Recovery Support Service,” Anne Leydon, Manager of Recovery Health and Wellbeing said.

“The team is currently providing support in various degrees to all of those people based on their needs. One size doesn’t fit all. That’s why we’ve taken a case management approach. It’s person to person and the solutions and approach are as unique as the people we are helping.

“The results of this survey will allow us to tailor our work and reach people that perhaps need more support than they have wanted or needed to date.

“Our approach is sensitive to the needs of each person which includes privacy, dignity, respect and connection to land and community.

“With the permission of each person and within privacy guidelines, we have and will continue to share some information with other agencies as we all look to collaborate in supporting our community and meeting their needs.”

The Bega Valley Recovery Needs Survey will start to filter through the community this week. You can answer it on your computer, tablet or smart phone, or if you would prefer to complete the survey by phone or have a paper copy forwarded to you please call 6499 2345 and a member of our team will assist you.  Similarly, please call if you have any questions or comments.

“We are mindful that people have filled in a lot of paperwork and dealt with many agencies already,” Mr Horsburgh said.

“Connecting with impacted community members and hearing from you helps us provide support to you and the community. This survey is important in terms of learning the lessons and rising to the challenges.”

To ensure we have not missed anybody we will follow up with a phone call.  These calls will be made by our Recovery Support team in partnership with Red Cross.

We encourage people to contact the Service if they are bushfire impacted and need support. Friends, family and community members can also contact the service on behalf of others.

People can reach the Bega Valley Recovery Support Service on 6499 2345 or email – The community can also check Council’s website and Facebook page for updated news and information and subscribe to Council’s weekly recovery eNewsletter



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