Australia — A $1.3 million Social Recovery Plan is being implemented in bushfire affected areas to provide ongoing support services for residents over the next 12 months.
The Social Recovery Plan is being led by the Department of Health and Human Services and provides a package of assistance including ongoing funding for four Community Recovery Workers and ongoing support from expert psychologists.
Tasmanian Premier, Lara Giddings, said its important that residents have access to counselling and support services close to home that assist their longer term recovery, particularly during the winter months.
Winter can be bleak at times, but when youve experienced a traumatic event like the January bushfires; the darker, quieter months can bring up some challenging emotions, which can put a strain on relationships and peoples wellbeing.
The four Community Recovery Workers are based at the Dunalley Information and Service Hub (DISH), and also provide home visits. Outreach services are also available for other bushfire affected areas.
I encourage anyone that needs a shoulder to lean on, or a listening ear, to make an appointment by dropping into the DISH or calling the Bushfire Recovery Unit on 1800 567 567, Ms Giddings said.
The Social Recovery Plan also supports the following services:
A range of services are provided by local councils, charities and community groups in bushfire affected areas. To maximise the benefits of these and avoid duplication or gaps, a State Operations Manager is coordinating and supporting these services.
To ensure that vulnerable members of the community are connected seamlessly to the services they need, a Regional Social Recovery Coordinator is based at the DISH. This person also leads, supports and coordinates the on-the-ground services.
To help people through environmental health issues like waste solutions, septic systems and water quality, a full-time Environmental Health Officer is on-hand in the local area to provide advice and support to residents and businesses as they rebuild.
Clinical Psychologist Rob Gordon has provided invaluable support to residents, helping them make sense of the emotions they are experiencing during the recovery process. Funding has been made available to ensure that community events and access to national experts like Dr Gordon continues.
Some non-government agencies have provided much needed services beyond their normal operations, funding is available under this Plan to support these partnering activities to continue.
This is a community led recovery, so the funding has been directed to areas where affected communities have identified a need.
We recognise that recovery is not something that happens overnight, so this package of assistance provides residents with continuity of support while they find their feet again, Ms Giddings said.
The Social Recovery Plan forms part of the broader recovery program being overseen by the
Bushfire Recovery Taskforce and the locally-led Affected Area Recovery Committees.