The Namadgi Visitor Centre reopened this morning (5 September) after being closed for more than six months following the Orroral Valley fire in February which destroyed 80 per cent of the Namadgi National Park.
The ACT Government has also announced $1.37 million to help with stage one of recovery.
The funds are attached to the release of the government’s long-term bushfire recovery plan that will restore damaged infrastructure as well as implement measures to safeguard the national park against future fires and floods.
The plan will increase efforts to manage invasive plants and animals as well as protect threatened and vulnerable plants and animals. It will also manage the impacts on heritage sites, support water catchment restoration efforts and restore infrastructure including roads, fences, walking tracks, signage and bridges.
It builds on the $600,000 already spent to replace rural landholder boundary fencing.
“In addition to the release of the ACT Bushfire Recovery Plan, I am pleased to welcome the community back to the Namadgi Visitor Information Centre,” Minister for the Environment and Land Management Mick Gentleman said.
“The Centre has been closed since the Orroral Valley Bushfire, and staff have taken advantage of the closure to refresh the building with a new paint job, flooring and shop infrastructure.
“The Namadgi Visitor Information Centre is a great place for visitors to find out more about the Park and efforts to restore it. As we move into spring, it is a great time for visitors to return to the reopened areas of Namadgi and see the green shoots of recovery with their own eyes.”
The ACT is seeking compensation from the Commonwealth Government after a Defence helicopter sparked the Orroral Valley fire. The ACT is also working to amend current recovery arrangements between the two governments which Chief Minister Andrew Barr has labelled “inadequate”.
Current arrangements with the Commonwealth do not allow for disaster funding to be used for environmental restoration, which will leave a substantial hole in the ACT’s budget according to Mr Barr. Government documents say “initial investment has been secured from the Commonwealth with an estimated total environmental recovery cost of up to $25 million”.
The recovery plan is available at Environment ACT.