Children orphaned in Victoria’s Black Saturday bushfires will receive $50,000 to help them rebuild their lives.
Victorian Premier John Brumby and bushfire appeal fund chairman John Landy announced the $7 million child bereavement grant in fire ravaged Marysville on Thursday.
A further $5 million will go towards a special school holiday program for almost 30,000 primary and secondary school children affected by the February 7 fires.
The bereavement grants will be given to 20 children aged under 18 and 28 young adults aged up to 26 to help with housing, lost possessions, education and counselling.
Mr Landy said children who lost both parents would receive $50,000 plus $20,000 a year to help them with the transition into adulthood.
Young adults aged up to 26 who lost a parent will receive $35,000 held in a trust to help with education, skills training and other needs.
Both children and young adults are eligible for up to $8,000 for grief counselling and $1,000 for financial planning.
“Tragically there are some children and young people who face a future without one or both parents because of these devastating bushfires,” Mr Landy said.
“This assistance is about helping to relieve just a little of this distress by providing those children and young people and their guardians with some comfort that they are in a financially sound position for the years ahead.”
The $5 million school holiday relief program will fund out-of-school programs in 16 fire-affected towns across Victoria for terms two and three and the Christmas/New Year holidays.
The programs will be developed through the YMCA.
“These school holiday programs are being provided for the many students who will find the holidays difficult because of the hardship they have personally endured as well as the destruction and damage to many local facilities in the fires,” Mr Landy said.
“The school holidays will also be tough for many parents in bushfire areas particularly those whose home was destroyed or damaged, who have limited funds for holiday activities or simply because they cannot afford to take time off work.”