Australia — The Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund has allocated $80 million of donated money to walking tracks and bike paths, angering Black Saturday survivors who are still living in caravans.
Almost $400 million was donated to the appeal after the 2009 bushfires that killed 173 people, with $80 million allocated to community projects, including walking tracks, bike paths and halls.
Community meetings in bushfire-affected areas have been held over the past week to determine how to spend the last $16 million of that money. Advertisement: Story continues below
But Ruth and Jason Lynn, who still live in a cabin with their two young children after surviving the fire at Kinglake West, say the fund has its priorities wrong, News Ltd reports on Monday.
“People at the meeting (in Kinglake) who have not lost anything were putting their hands up and asking for $50,000 for a walking track or bike trail and we have been camping for the past two years,” Ms Lynn said.
“Why aren’t the council paying for walking tracks? We still pay almost $3000 a year in rates even though we don’t have a home on the property.”
Funding for community projects should be scrapped, said another Kinglake West survivor, 64-year-old Ian Holman, who lives with his wife in an old portable classroom.
“There are people up here still suffering, that money should be given to those people still in need,” he said.
Patrick McNamara, chairman of the fund, said $318 million of the money raised was given directly to those who lost homes or loved ones.