Residents affected by the Lowmead fire are eligible to have fees waved for development applications.
Residents affected by the Lowmead fire are eligible to have fees waved for development applications.

Council: Help on the way for disaster rebuild

The challenge of rebuilding after a natural disaster will take less of a financial toll after the Gladstone Regional Council resolved to wave development application fees.

Residents who lodge a DA for their place of residence within two years of a natural disaster won't have to pay the council fees to get the building process underway.

Mayor Matt Burnett said those affected by the Deepwater and Lowmead/Mt Maria fires were eligible for the concession, and it would apply to future natural disasters.

"Any council at any particular time will review their fees and charges and they could drop it, but why would you?" he said.

"It's a very small part of the building process, but it's still a cost they won't have to worry about."

More than 100 properties were impacted by the Deepwater fires in 2018 and the Lowmead/Mt Maria fires in 2019.

Cr Glenn Churchill supported the initiative and sought assurance of the timelines people would have to take advantage.

He was told those eligible would have two years to lodge their DA, and approved applications would be alive for six years.

Advice to council outlined the financial implication of the changes.

"Based on recent events in both 2018 and 2019, if all impacted properties took up the concession, there would be a reduction in income of $121,520 based on 2019/2020 building fees," it states.

Council agreed to the changes unanimously and an amendment was passed to forward a copy to the federal minister responsible for bushfire recovery.

Deputy Mayor Chris Trevor said the action would help demonstrate how the fires had impacted the region.

He wants the federal government to reconsider allocating $1 million in bushfire recovery funding to the region.

In February, the National Bushfire Recovery Agency announced an extension of its $1 million grant scheme. Gladstone was not included.