Australia — The Victorian and federal governments have agreed to provide anextra $800,000 to help those hit by the current bushfire emergency in the state.
Bushfires in Victoria’s Gippsland and north-east have claimed one life,destroyed at least 15 homes and burnt out thousands of hectares of bushland andforestry.
Prime Minister John Howard said today that he and Victoria’s Premier SteveBracks had agreed to provide more than $800,000 in additional funding to helpfamilies, business and primary producers recover “from the devastatingbushfires.”
He said the agreement established a $700,000 community recovery fund withequal contributions from the state and commonwealth.
This is over and above the support the commonwealth government provides underthe enhanced natural disaster relief arrangements.
Mr Howard said the community recovery fund would be used to address the needsof the community as they arise and to help the region to recover fully from thefires.
The funding would support grants of up to $15,000 for charities, smallbusiness and primary producers to assist with costs that are not covered byinsurance arrangements.
“`The commonwealth and Victoria have also agreed to contribute $50,000each to the Red Cross Bushfire Appeal to assist families, small business andcommunities affected by the bushfires in Victoria,” Mr Howard said.
He said the commonwealth and Victorian governments would consider furtherassistance for the regions once the full extent of the damage from the currentbushfire has been assessed.