A Fire-Affected NSW Town Applied For A Water Storage Grant & Got $300K Of Dance Lessons Instead

Bilpin Bushfire

After applying for a NSW State Government grant to improve their water storage infrastructure, the bushfire-affected town of Bilpin has received a much-needed set of, umm, dance lessons?

Nestled in the Blue Mountains, residents of the town which currently has a population of just 665 applied for their state’s Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Package.

The situation is reflective of a greater trend in rural Australia. Towns that were the worst affected by the horrific 2020 bushfires are still greatly in need of a helping hand.

While the charitable efforts of the public are always welcome (see here for our article on how best to direct your dollar bills), much of the country is reliant on government grants for the sort of cash that can build the big-ticket items.

In an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald, the town outlined that they originally applied for the grant to fund a “pump for the creek, a bore for extra water, storage tanks and tar for a sealed parking area for NSW Fire and Rescue trucks to refill with water at the Kurrajong Heights Bowling Club, which is the town’s disaster staging area”.

Instead, they were given a whopping $300k in … dance lessons. Ffs.

Unfortunately, the town’s original application was rejected as they had attached an incorrect document but were told it was too late to amend the issue.

They were then awarded $300k as part of the Bushfire Community Recovery and Resilience Fund for which they did not even fit the application guidelines.

Kooryn Sheaves is a Bilpin resident and told the SMH:

“The community was absolutely horrified to be landed with these dance lessons.

“It’s important that we look after our mental health, but to do that we need community-driven responses. We desperately need roadside water storage at our disaster management areas to make us more resilient in bushfires.”

There’s a time and a place for “digging the dancing queen”, but this was not it.

If you’d like to support the town’s economy, we hear their cider’s pretty fab. Purchase some from their website here.