Eurobodalla Disaster Relief Fund details

Background

During December 2019 and January 2020, Eurobodalla suffered devastating bushfires that claimed 3 lives, destroyed 510 homes, 78 facilities, 882 outbuildings. Consequently, there were lengthy losses of power and communications, road closures, evacuation of over 9,000 people and the ongoing real threat of dangerous fires. More than 96,000 hectares or 90.5% of our State forests burnt and more than 127,000 hectares or 90.6% of our National Parks burnt. This period is usually when tourist numbers peak, however many holiday makers cancelled their holidays due to fire damage, road closures and the genuine threat of further fires.

As the community sought leadership, support and direction, Council, in combination with other measures, initiated the Disaster Relief Fund – a fund guided by the Australian Taxation Office's Deductible Gift Recipient Status under the Australian Disaster Relief Fund criteria.

Management committee

  • Mayor Clr Liz Innes
  • Deputy Mayor Clr Rob Pollock
  • Community Member Mr Peter Atkinson
  • Community Member Mr Peter Lonergan
  • General Manager Dr Catherine Dale
  • Secretary

Principles

The Eurobodalla Disaster Relief Fund’s (EDRF) principles are as follows:

Clause 1: Eurobodalla Shire Council has set up the EDRF to assist people in Eurobodalla impacted by the 2019/2020 bushfires.

Clause 2: The EDRF provides an opportunity for the general public to donate funds, whilst ensuring that all monies donated are used solely for assisting those who have suffered as a result of the fires.

Clause 3: All funds received will either be:

  • 3.1 Allocated directly to those person(s) adversely affected by the 2019/2020 bushfires natural disaster;
  • 3.2 Contributed to a community group providing support services/disaster recovery activities;

or

  • 3.3 Donated to Australian charities who will manage the distribution of donated funds to victims of the 2019/2020 bushfires affecting the Eurobodalla community on behalf of the EDRF.

Clause 4: The EDRF will utilise a separate / segregated Council bank account to manage all funds. Direct depositing to the bank account is the preferred receipting mechanism, with bank account details being displayed on the ESC website. Donations by cash or cheque can be made at the Moruya Council Administration Centre or at any National Australia Bank  branch.

Clause 5: Council will not use any funds donated for administration, overhead or other non-charitable purposes.

Clause 6: The EDRF is entitled to receive tax deductible gifts from 11 November 2019 until 11 November 2021.

Clause 7: The Fund will be managed by an independent management committee comprising respected community members. The management committee will identify the areas of greatest need for financial assistance in supporting those affected by the fires. Terms of reference for the management committee can be located on Council’s website: www.esc.nsw.gov.au

Clause 8: The intention of the management committee is to distribute funds promptly.

Clause 9: It is the intention that there will be at least two phases involved in the disbursement of funds.  This will be dependent on the success and donations related to Phase 1.

  • Phase 1 will involve distributions to those who have suffered damage to their primary place of residence and/or outbuildings.
  • Phase 2 will involve distributions to small businesses and those indirectly impacted by the fires.

Clause 10: Timing of Phase 1 will be March / April 2020.

Clause 11: There is no means testing on applications. The management committee encourages those facing financial hardship to apply. As the scale of financial hardship can be difficult to judge and the pool of funds is limited (particularly when considering the amount of damage that has occurred) the management committee relies on the integrity of those applying for relief from this fund.

Clause 12: The intention is that funds distributed will be spent in the local community to stimulate the local economy and hopefully provide some relief to small businesses and others who are facing financial hardship.

Clause 13: An indicative maximum amount that can be claimed is $1000, however the management committee may amend this amount after reviewing the applications.

Clause 14: Reconciliations and accounts will be prepared for the EDRF on a periodical basis, and at least monthly, to ensure that all funds are correctly accounted for and utilised for the purposes detailed in this document. Additionally, detailed statements will be prepared when the fund is wound up.

Clause 15: Receipts will be issued upon request in the name of the Eurobodalla Shire Council – Eurobodalla Disaster Relief Fund.

Clause 16: The Australian Tax Office (ATO) will be notified in the event of any material changes to the fund.

Clause 17: When the fund is wound up or if the endorsement of the fund as a deductible gift recipient is revoked, any surplus funds shall be transferred to a fund, authority or institution that has deductible gift recipient status.