Joint media release
The Hon Michael Keenan MP
Minister for Justice
The Hon Kim Wells MP
Victorian Minister for Police and Emergency Services and Bushfire Response
14 February 2014
The Minister for Justice Michael Keenan and the Victorian Minister for Police and Emergency Services and Minister for Bushfire Response Kim Wells today announced that more than 200 household emergency relief grants have been issued since funds were activated for Victoria’s recent bushfires.
Visiting the State Control Centre in Melbourne today with Mr Wells for advice on Victoria’s ongoing bushfire situation, Mr Keenan confirmed that bushfire-affected residents in 12 local government areas could seek financial help.
“On Monday we moved quickly to activate jointly-funded Commonwealth-Victorian Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements which included immediate personal hardship assistance for families, and funding to support councils conducting emergency relief operations,” Mr Keenan said.
“Since the start of February, more than $240,000 in emergency relief grant funding has been provided to affected communities.
Minister Wells said funding was also activated at the beginning of the week for clean-up activities, and to begin restoring or rebuilding essential public assets damaged by the fires.
“As the full impacts of these bushfires become evident, we continue to stand by these bushfire-affected areas and assist with the costs incurred as a result of fighting the fires and defending communities,” Mr Wells said.
“Assessment of the damage caused by these bushfires could take some time and further assistance will be extended to communities as their needs became apparent.”
The emergency financial assistance is available for eligible residents in bushfire-affected local government areas of:
- East Gippsland
- Baw Baw
- Macedon Ranges
- Greater Shepparton
- Yarra Ranges.
Under Victoria’s Personal Hardship Assistance Program, the following financial assistance is available to eligible households:
- Emergency relief assistance, which provides payments of up to $500 per adult and $250 per child up to a maximum of $1,250 per household to cover emergency accommodation, food, clothing, or personal items, and personal and financial counselling; and
- Emergency re-establishment assistance, which provides up to $31,050 per household for clean-up, emergency accommodation, repairs, rebuilding and replacing some damaged contents. It is also available to eligible Victorians in extreme hardship whose homes have become uninhabitable as a result of the fires.
Mr Wells urged communities to stay vigilant as the bushfire season continued.
“We have a severe bushfire risk in Victoria and I urge everyone not to be complacent, to have a bushfire plan, and to ensure that on days of high fire danger, that they leave early and live,” Mr Wells said.
People seeking assistance should contact their local council in the first instance, or can download further information from the Emergency Relief and Recovery Victoria website at www.recovery.vic.gov.au or contact the Victorian Emergency Recovery Information Line on 1300 799 232 or visit the Australian Government’s Disaster Assist website at www.disasterassist.gov.au.