Australia — Victoria’s bushfire victims have been given an extra three months of special income support.
The Federal Government said today that the Income Recovery Subsidy had been extended for a further 13 weeks, giving people more time to regain their long-term financial independence.
“Although recovery is underway in many regions, some individuals continue to experience financial pressure due to the fires, Families, Housing and Community Services Minister Jenny Macklin said.
“A handful of farmers and small businesses are still not fully operational and some employees are yet to return to full time work. By extending these payments the Australian Government can offer practical support while these people get back on their feet.
The Income Recovery Subsidy provides fortnightly assistance at the Newstart Allowance rate of $453.30 for singles and $409 (each) for couples. It will now be available to eligible people until November 10 this year.
The parliamentary secretary for Victorian bushfire reconstruction, Bill Shorten, said Centrelink would contact existing recipients to determine if they were eligible for the extension of the subsidy.
He said the subsidy complemented a range of existing services and other payments and assistance available under the Commonwealth Government Recovery Assistance Package to help the bushfire victims.
Since the fires more than $11.5 million has assisted at least 3700 people through the Income Recovery Subsidy, Mr Shorten said.
In the last 13 weeks 1,800 people have received the subsidy. All up, the Government has provided more than $226 million to support people and communities affected by the fires.