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Bushfire response update: 15 Jan, 2020

Bushfire response update: 15 Jan, 2020

Campuses re-open, support for businesses offered

The University of Wollongong will re-open its South Coast and Southern Highlands campuses from tomorrow, Thursday 16 January 2020, and offer assistance to local businesses, as the threat of bushfires eases and communities begin the task of recovery and rebuilding.

Campuses reopen

Having provided a place of refuge for hundreds of students, staff, local residents and visitors displaced by the fires, the Bega and Batemans Bay campuses have been restored to their normal state and can resume operations.

The Shoalhaven Campus, along with its resident business, will also re-open from Thursday. Additional, 24-hour security monitoring has been activated as a safety precaution while the remaining fires in bushland to the west of Nowra are being fully extinguished.

The Southern Highlands campus, which was closed as a precaution, will also resume normal operations.

The lessons learned from this emergency are already being applied, with both the Bega and Batemans Bay campuses now equipped with equipment and supplies to better prepare them to assist the community in times of emergency in future.

Students who had been impacted by campus closures will be advised if these re-openings alter any alternative arrangements already implemented for this week’s classes.

Help for businesses

As local communities begin the task of recovery, UOW Vice-Chancellor, Professor Paul Wellings CBE, has directed University staff to explore many avenues of providing support, including for local businesses.

“We are offering the broadest range of support possible, from community refuges in our campuses through to medical and mental health care, bushfire and environmental expertise and economic development assistance.

“As a practical first-step, I am proud to offer up to 20 ‘hot-desk’ spaces in the iAccelerate business incubator at our North Wollongong Innovation Campus for local businesses displaced or otherwise impacted by the bushfires.

“Access to these facilities will be free of charge for an initial 30 days with a reassessment of business needs after that time.

“We are also investigating options to offer similar facilities in the Bega Valley area and to re-focus our programs on business re-start and recovery rather than start-up, reflecting the local business community’s immediate needs,” Professor Wellings said.

Businesses seeking to take up this offer can find out more by contacting iAccelerate: https://www.iaccelerate.com.au/

Further information