Category Recovery Update   Show all

  • Bushfire recovery in the Hawkesbury

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    We are contacting you in relation to the recent bushfires which have affected our local communities in various ways. Many of our local residents are also volunteers with local Rural Fire Service Brigades who worked with emergency services to fight these fires and protect us, our properties and our businesses.

    We want to let you know that we are still working to help you and to make sure that you are aware of the many services and grants available to support you, our community members and local business in the journey to recovery.

    A key part of this recovery is the psychological and emotional wellbeing of all members of the community. When we feel stronger and more supported, the practical and tangible aspects of recovery are much more achievable. Hawkesbury residents affected by the recent bushfires or other emergency events can now access a free recovery support service called Step by Step.

    Step by Step Recovery Support

    Gateway Family Services launched the service in the Hawkesbury this week, using funding from the NSW Department of Communities and Justice and additional funding from Council. Step by Step aims to provide immediate emotional and social support. The service can also help community members with accessing grants, dealing with applications, insurance issues and by linking people to other recovery resources and services.

    Step by Step is using a variety of contact methods and tools including phone, email, video calls, facetime, Facebook (including Messenger), monthly newsletters and postal mail-outs to ensure that people are able to continue to access the support and assistance they need.

    The Step by Step Recovery Support service can be accessed via:

    Telephone on 0417 298 832

    Email at

    Facebook at

    The service is available Monday to Saturday from 9am to 6pm.

    If you or someone you know is distressed and needs support, the Beyond Blue Support Service offers short term counselling and referrals by phone and webchat on 1300 22 4636 or visit for more information. Other support services to help you your family, friends or even strangers in need, include:

    • Mental Health Line – 1800 011 511
    • Lifeline Bushfire Recovery Line - 13 43 57
    • Mensline – 1300 789 978
    • Kids Helpline – 1800 55 1800.

    Bushfire submissions extended

    The deadline for submissions to the NSW Bushfire Inquiry and Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangement has been extended to 17 April, so act now to have your input included. The bushfires had a severe and lasting impact on our community and risked the lives of our firefighters and emergency services volunteers. This is your chance to your say about what happened and what needs to be done in future. Please call Council on 4560 4444 if you need assistance completing your submission or for a hard copy form.


    While the Bushfire recovery remains a high priority for us, some operations are being adapted to respond to the restrictions being put in place to respond to COVID-19. While the COVID-19 virus brings new challenges to bushfire recovery due to local lock downs and social distancing, we are working to find ways to adapt and get through this tough time. For everyone in the community, including bushfire affected community members, we have created a COVID-19 webpage on Your Hawkesbury Your Say with advice and updates. Please take a look at and Facebook for regular community updates.

    We have also stepped up our online services to keep you connected with us and Council encourages you to make use of our many online services. For any enquiries, including bushfire recovery enquiries, please call Council’s Customer Service on 4560 4444 or email Council via

    Council is also working closely with the NSW Government and lead contractor Laing O’Rourke to maintain momentum on the clean-up. We are working with Laing O’Rourke and community groups to identify other ways of communicating with our bushfire affected community members. As part of this, we are also looking at the possibility of online information sessions or webinars.

    The NSW Bushfire clean-up program has been confirmed as an essential service by the NSW Government, which will ensure the project can continue despite the measures being implemented to minimise the spread of COVID-19.

    Clean-up projects are being completed as quickly as possible to help our community move towards rebuilding and recovery.

    Laing O’Rourke’s dedicated project teams on the ground across the state are working closely with local sub-contractors to ensure appropriate safety measures are in place while clearance works are undertaken.

    We have listed below some key updates on how Council is collaborating with Government agencies and contractors to keep helping you and to keep the bushfire recovery process moving. If you have further questions or suggestions for us, we are listening and ready to help, with a dedicated position of a Bushfire Recovery Officer and trained Customer Service staff. Please contact us on 4560 4444 or email council@hawkesbury,

    Local Bushfire Recovery update

    Laing O’Rourke is continuing with the assessment of fire affected properties and clean-up activity. To date, 52 inspections have been undertaken with 30 properties deemed to be eligible for the clean-up. The clean-up of 7 properties has been completed. A satellite office has been set up in the Bilpin Community Hall carpark for the duration of the clean-up in the Local Government Area.

    Clearing of hazardous trees

    Council is continuing to assist property owners with the clearing of hazardous trees on bushfire affected sites. Currently, Council has undertaken over 48 tree inspections on properties in Bilpin, Colo and St Albans. The removal of hazardous trees on 31 properties has been completed to date with work on 4 further properties confirmed for next week in the Bilpin and Colo areas. Three properties have been assessed as requiring tree removal in St Albans (lower risk), which will be addressed after the tree removal in Bilpin and Colo.

    Council staff are continuing to contact residents to ensure that all properties that may be eligible for assistance with clean up works are registered with Service NSW. Currently, 91 residents are registered with Service NSW. Council is working with Laing O’Rourke to ensure that all property owners that are on Council’s database and who are registered with Service NSW are contacted.

    Free clean-up for bushfire affected orchards

    Council is working with the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) to assist with the clean-up of orchards in the Bilpin area. The DPI has identified seven orchardists and has undertaken site inspections on each of the properties to identify the support they will be providing under the grant program. Council is working with the DPI to develop a process for the disposal of netting, wire and posts and tress from the properties. The work is expected to be carried out over the next six months.

    The orchard clean-up is funded by the NSW Government and it is separate to the free clean-up program for eligible residential and commercial buildings destroyed by bushfires, which is being delivered by Laing O’Rourke on behalf of the State and Federal Governments.

    Free pre-lodgement advice

    Council is offering free pre-lodgement advice services to residents impacted by Bushfires. Following pre-lodgement advice, residents are also being offered access to further planning advice as needed. Five Pre-lodgement advice meetings and two further planning advice meetings have been held to date.

    Hawkesbury Business Hub

    For more information to help local businesses, visit Hawkesbury Business Hub The business hub offers centralised information on the latest business information, particularly as it relates to COVID-19 and bushfires on businesses including media releases relevant to businesses and business opportunities.

    Council has been working directly with the Department of Treasury, Investment and Attraction Office to provide localised assistance to identify and make connections with companies in the Hawkesbury Local Government Area that could potentially assist with the shortage in supply chains. The information is being placed on the Hawkesbury Business Hub.

    A ‘Pilot Business Recovery Capacity Building Program’ has also been launched in April. It includes business mentoring, training and a Facebook business group to share and brainstorm. It will also provide additional support and resourcing for businesses. Contact our Customer Service Centre on 4560 4444 if you would like additional information.

    Bushfire Recovery Grant – for small business and non-profit organisations. Grants of up to $50,000 are available to eligible small businesses and non-profit organisations that have suffered direct damage to their premises or equipment as a result of the NSW bushfires.

    Special Disaster Grants – for primary producers. Up to a maximum of $75,000 in grant funding is now available to eligible primary producers in areas directly affected by the NSW bushfires and other declared Natural Disasters. The grant is designed to help primary producers pay for immediate costs associated with property clean-up, reinstatement activities and other emergency measures, such as disposing of dead stock, and rebuilding or replacing damaged or destroyed on-farm infrastructure.

    WIRES and Landcare Australia

    A $1 million partnership has been created to support the recovery of wildlife habitats impacted by bushfire and drought across Australia. The grants will provide eligible local Landcare environment networks and community groups access to grant funding of up to $20,000 to maximise and coordinate restoration projects.


    Council continues to actively promote FarmHub which connects Australian farmers to a range of resources, services and support. This includes information such as the Directory of Government and Private assistance, Regional Climate Guides, A learning and development directory, articles and information relevant to managing a farm business during hardship.

    Bushfire Recovery

    Please visit for more information about Bushfire Recovery. This bushfire recovery site includes information on grants, relevant links and contact details to make it easier for the community to access all the latest information.