The economic recovery of primary producers, horticulture and other agriculture businesses which have suffered significant financial loss from the unprecedented bushfire disaster will be co-ordinated by Livingstone Shire Council’s Economic Taskforce.
The specialised taskforce, one of four to be adopted by Council today in response to the fire event, will assess the impact on the local economy, develop an industry and business recovery plan, stimulate growth and facilitate business assistance.
Local Disaster Management Group Chair and Mayor Bill Ludwig said the region had suffered significant financial loss and there would be serious impacts on short and medium term productivity.
“The total damage bill and loss of income for producers and businesses in the fire impacted area is still being calculated but is likely to run into the multi-millions,” Mayor Ludwig said.
“Council will work tirelessly alongside other agencies to help those who have suffered significant financial hardship including; loss of livelihood, home and contents, sheds, machinery, vehicles and stock and food supplies.
“The impact is still very raw and for some people, it will take years to recover.”
Approximately 12, 000 hectares was impacted by the devastating fire front which was 17 kilometres by 13 kilometres wide.
About 8, 500 hectares of grazing land and 275 hectares of horticultural production land including tropical fruit production has been lost.
Mayor Bill Ludwig said evacuated residents and businesses were unable to feed and water stock for extended periods during evacuations and road closures.
“Fodder has been donated and offers of assistance are being compiled and paired up with those residents requiring help,” Mayor Ludwig said.
“The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) is continuing to carry out assessments of affected businesses.”
Currently, 243 businesses have been identified as within the immediate fire damaged area and 747 properties are identified within the impacted area.
Mayor Bill Ludwig said the Economic Taskforce was established to ensure impacted businesses will be supported through the recovery phase.
“Livingstone Shire Council is also working with Capricorn Enterprise and local businesses to spread the word that the Capricorn Coast is open for business,” Mayor Ludwig said.
“While the bushfire has had a devastating impact on our community, we want to ensure visitors know there are many beautiful, natural attractions and pristine coastlines to enjoy.”