‘People have left Rappville and they might not come back‘
IT'S been five months since the bushfires tore through Rappville and government agencies are determined to not let residents feel forgotten.
This week, National Bushfire Recovery Agency co-ordinator Andrew Colvin and NSW Recovery co-ordinator Mick Willing visited the village and surrounding areas.
Mr Colvin said he was eager to hear from residents and local councils about their recovery process.
"People have left (Rappville) and there's concerns they might not come back and that's hard for the local community, so it was important for us to hear from them directly," Mr Colvin said.
"Not every community is the same, and not every community's needs are the same.
"Governments need to work together, along with the public and non-public sector, to tailor our response and our recovery to the needs of the community."
Mr Willing said Rappville was a perfect example of how the bushfires have devastated a community, and many things can be learned from their recovery process.
"Rappville is indicative of the small country village, it's really important that places like Rappville are supported to sustain in the long term," Mr Willing said.
"The onus is on all of us in the community to make sure that places like Rappville survive because across the country for a variety of reasons you see little communities doing it hard and Rappville really illustrates that in a poignant way.
"It does cause you to reflect on what we can do different and how can we support places and businesses like that to make sure they're sustainable."
Having met with Richmond Valley, Lismore City, Kyogle and Clarence Valley Councils, Mr Willing said discussions in the regions will allow agencies to determine how better use bushfire funding.
"It's difficult enough anyway when you're recovering from a single type event but not something of this scale of this level of devastation," he said.
"Our challenge is to see how we harness what we've got now and make sure people aren't forgotten."
Mr Colvin urged people to contact their local council with their bushfire needs, and staff will filter information to the national recovery plan.