Bushfire Communities Support Program To Run For 16 Months

Bushfire Communities Support Program To Run For 16 Months

Victoria Minister for Community Services Mary Wooldridge

Ongoing Support For Victorians Hit By 2009 Bushfires

Victor P Taffa

The Baillieu Government will provide ongoing support to individuals and families devastated by the 2009 Bushfires, Minister for Community Services Mary Wooldridge said today.

The Bushfire Communities Support Program will begin in March 2011 and run for 16 months.

The $2.7 Million Program will provide a combination of individual support and engagement with local communities to support longer term recovery needs.

The Program will include:

• A new Bushfire Communities Support Helpline as a central point to provide personal support and information to people affected by the bushfires;

• Bushfire Community Support Workers to provide locally-based assistance;

• Funding to local organisations in the Hume Region to expand drug, alcohol, family violence and men’s counselling programs, improving access for those affected by the bushfires.

Ms. Wooldridge said the new services are further evidence that the Coalition Government is dedicated to supporting people and communities as they rebuild their lives.

“More than 5,500 people accessed the initial case management service for bushfire-affected households and it’s a really positive sign that the majority of people who used the service are back to managing independently.” Ms. Wooldridge said.

“After thoroughly consulting local communities it is clear that we now need a flexible service that people can tap into when they need a hand.”

“The support helpline and community support workers will build on the work done by the case management service. These new initiatives will help to ensure people who need help can continue to access the range of local services they need.” Ms. Wooldridge said.

The Bushfire Community Support Workers will also support community engagement activities, working closely with other community recovery groups.

The Support Workers will be located in Communities worst hit by the bushfires, including:

  • Murrindindi,
  • Whittlesea,
  • Mitchell,
  • Nillumbik,
  • Alpine,
  • Yarra Ranges,
  • Bendigo,
  • Baw Baw,
  • Latrobe and Wellington Shires.
  • The Town of Redesdale.

“I urge people affected by the 2009 Victorian bushfires to tap into this new service they should call 1800 050 400 if they need help finding information or want to be linked into local services.” Ms. Wooldridge said.