Bushfire donations ‘mostly allocated’

Bushfire donations ‘mostly allocated’

2 April 2009

published by news.theage.com.au

 Australia — Most of the money donated to the Bushfire Recovery Fund has been allocated, Victorian Premier John Brumby says.

More than $285 million has been pumped into the fund, set up to help the survivors of the devastating February 7 bushfires.

Mr Brumby told parliament on Thursday a $9 million assistance package for local councils completed the list of relief measures for bushfire victims.

“So the bulk of the fund has been committed,” Mr Brumby told state parliament during question time.

“There is still a significant amount remaining, which the fund will particularly donate towards the longer-term issues, for example, putting the money aside for education trusts for orphaned children.

“The fund will focus very much on these issues over the next few weeks.”

Initiatives already announced included $10,000 bereavement payments, $50,000 for people who lost homes and up to $8,000 for local heroes.

The council assistance package will be for local governments who have played a “significant role” in guiding the recovery of local communities, Mr Brumby said.

It would be used for community-based initiatives such as providing additional grief and trauma counselling and advice services for staff, volunteers and the community.

Appeal fund chairman John Landy said it would also be used to assist with the re-establishment and running of disaster emergency services.

“And responding to increased demand on rubbish removal, tree clearing from roads and public areas, and the purchase of re-vegetation flora,” Mr Landy said.

He added the assistance was possible only because of the generosity of Australians.

Funding priority would be given to the councils and shires most severely affected by the fires.

The Victorian Bushfire Reconstruction and Recovery Authority headed by Christine Nixon will oversee the payments.

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