Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Fund Projects in Clarence Valley and Coffs Harbour

The Australian and NSW Government’s are supporting the recovery of bushfire impacted communities through a range of funding programs that support local and regional economic and social recovery – including initiatives across economic, social, built and natural environment recovery. Through the Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Fund (BLERF) Envite have supported communities in the Coffs Harbour and Clarence LGA to recover both economically and socially from the 2019-2020 bushfires.

Two projects “Environmental recovery in Clarence Valley” and “Coffs Coastal Access Repair and Asset Protection Zone Environmental Resilience Improvements” have been designed to provide local youth with employment, training and skill development in Conservation and Ecosystem Management. Between 2021-23 four stages of groups of four entry level environmental workers were employed for approximately 6 month programs, providing opportunity for our next generation of workers.

The teams were involved in land management and strategic program activities including landscaping, environmental rehabilitation, improving natural environment and amenity maintaining the stability of ecosystem processes. The programs improved local employment opportunities with an entry pathway into a growing agriculture, conservation and land management industry in the Clarence and Coffs Coast area. It was aimed to improve ongoing employment opportunities through local community, industry support and effectively developing trainee’s skills and work experience increasing their chances of obtaining ongoing work and transferable skills in the industry within the Coffs and Clarence Valley regions.

East Gippsland School-based Traineeships Program

Youth disengagement in East Gippsland was exacerbated by the 2019/20 bushfires and COVID-19 pandemic, and stands to have lasting negative impacts on community recovery, capacity and wellbeing. As of November 2021, the Gippsland region had the highest rates of disengaged youth in Victoria. One in five (19%) young people aged 18-24 were not engaged in formal work or study, and youth unemployment is on the increase. Moreover, Gippsland has higher early school leaver rates and lower levels of higher education attainment than the Victorian average.  

Fewer tertiary education and vocational training opportunities, poor transport infrastructure, social disadvantage, and inter-generational unemployment contribute to heightened youth disengagement in East Gippsland’s remote communities, such as Swifts Creek, Orbost, Cann River and Mallacoota. Furthermore, the winding down of native forest logging in the region has, and continues to, lead to a loss of rural employment opportunities.

Young people who lack clear pathways to employment in their communities, have few incentives to stay local, or to attend and complete school. There is a pressing need to create novel skills development and employment pathways that engage and improve the future prospects of young people living in East Gippsland’s remote regional communities. 

In 2022, Envite and partners pioneered a novel school-based traineeship program that simultaneously addresses youth disengagement while building community capacity and support for bushfire recovery in East Gippsland.  

Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Fund: Bungawalbin Community Bushfire Recovery

The bushfires of 2019-2020 burnt through almost the entire Bungwalbin area in Richmond Valley LGA devastating the local community and habitat for threatened species and ecological communities.


The Bungawalbin Community Bushfire Recovery Project is supporting ecological restoration, employment and strengthening community resilience through implementation of bushfire recovery activities across public and private land.  The project involves a partnership between the local community, Bungawalbin Landcare, Bandjalang Traditional Owners and NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service.

Gippsland Drought Employment Program

Following more than three years of damaging drought conditions in the East Gippsland region, the State Government funded the Gippsland Drought Employment program to provide flexible, temporary employment for farmers and individuals from related industries, to provide cashflow during the drought and to support community centred natural resource management (NRM) works.

The main objective of the program was to provide employment for drought impacted community members in need. The program eligibility was extended to include bushfire impacted individuals following catastrophic bushfires in East Gippsland in 2019/20.

Skilling Queenslanders for Work

The Queensland Government funded Skilling Queenslanders for Work program support Work Skills Traineeship projects throughout the state.

Envite has supported crews in Townsville and South East Queensland to gain accreditation and experience in Conservation and Land Management, and delivered on a broad range of community projects as part of the student training.