Victoria Premier Ted Baillieu
Premier Announces More Assistance, Appeal For Vic Flood Victims
Victor P Taffa
The Coalition Government has listened to Victorians and today I announce that the Government will take action and move quickly to help communities affected by these floods, Premier Ted Baillieu said.
As I have travelled through Victoria’s flood-affected communities in recent days, I have seen first-hand the devastation caused by this calamity to families, communities and towns, Victoria Premier Ted Baillieu said.
“Victorians are tough and resilient. They are determined to recover and rebuild but they will need help.” Mr. Baillieu said.
Victoria’s Flood Emergency is not yet over but it is already clear that long-term Government support will be needed to help the community rebound from widespread major loss and damage.
The Current Floods have also hit many communities and areas that were flooded in September and December 2010, with very substantial cumulative damage causing a huge drain on the resources of communities and Local Government.
Cabinet met this morning to discuss the floods and approved additional measures to help communities and local government clean up, recover and rebuild.
Additional Measures Announced Today Includes:
Cabinet Flood Task Force:
The establishment of a new Cabinet Flood Task Force to be chaired by the Premier to co-ordinate immediate additional help for affected families, businesses and communities, in particular provision of food and other goods to affected families and financial support for local government to conduct urgent clean-up operations;
Local Government Clean Up Fund:
Local Councils managing the collection and clean up of household goods, furniture and appliances that have been damaged by the floods will have access to an additional $5 Million from a Local Government Clean Up Fund, to be jointly administered by the State Government and the Municipal Association of Victoria;
Funds will be made available from the $5 Million Fund for tipping and waste disposal, restoration of streetscapes, operation of the Municipal Emergency Co-ordination (MEC) Centres and council-operated relief and recovery centres, meeting the costs of providing initial services to flood-affected communities such as generators, food, kitchen hire and toilet hire and provision of livestock feed, recovery and return of stray livestock;
Financial Support For Affected Businesses:
$15,000 Clean Up and Restoration Grants have been enacted for the January 2011 floods for eligible primary producers, small businesses and not for profit organisations. Affected people should contact the Rural Finance Corporation on (03) 5448 2600.
Low interest loans of up to $200,000 from the Rural Finance Corporation will also be available;
Financial Support For Community Groups:
I will be asking the Prime Minister later today to declare the floods a ‘severe event’, which will result in both State and Commonwealth Governments contributing around $4 Million in Funding to provide payments to community groups for recovery activities and community asset repairs;
Funding For Communities And Local Government For Repairs To Infrastructure: (including Roads and Bridges):
Local Councils can apply to the Victorian Government (Department of Treasury and Finance) for reimbursement of the cost of essential public asset repairs (i.e. Local Roads and Bridges), for reimbursement of any emergency protection works and the restoration of essential public infrastructure, through the Natural Disaster Financial Assistance Scheme.
It is expected that the cost of this initiative will be in excess of $30 Million;
Assistance For Agriculture will be undertaken in consultation with the Victorian Farmers Federation;
The Coalition Government will speak with the Insurance Industry to ensure claims are processed as quickly as possible. We understand the main concentration will be on Queensland and we do not wish to detract from that effort but victims in other states should also be assisted appropriately;
Activation Of A Volunteer Registration System:
Many people have already assisted in the cleanup of towns in Victoria, and many more people have offered or want to offer assistance. A registration system is being established through a website hosted by the Department of Planning and Community Development, to enable people to volunteer and to have their skills matched to the needs of affected communities – www.volunteer.vic.gov.au. The website will be operational today. All volunteer assistance needs to be co-ordinated by the relevant local councils. While assistance in-kind can be helpful, the best way to help is through donations;
Red Cross Victorian Floods Appeal:
The Australian Red Cross has established this Appeal with the Coalition Government to support individuals, families and communities in areas affected by the 2011 Victorian floods. The Coalition Government will provide an initial $1 Million contribution to this fund.
The Community is urged to donate money to the Red Cross by calling 1800 811 700 or visiting the Red Cross website at www.redcross.org.au. Cash is the quickest and most effective way for the Red Cross to be able to provide the assistance flood victims need to re-establish their normal lives. The funds raised will be allocated by the Red Cross. A small Allocation Panel will be set up for this purpose. All administration costs will be met by the State Government and all interest on donations will be invested back into the Appeal;
Financial Support For Tourism:
The Coalition Government will establish a $1 Million Tourism Fund to support business in areas affected by the floods that are heavily dependent on Tourism. It will be administered by the Department of Business and Innovation.
Last Friday the Victorian Government also authorised the Payment Of Emergency Grants for those impacted upon by current flooding (available through DHS regional offices). These grants comprise up to $1,067 per household personal hardship grants and up to $8,650 grants for temporary living expenses, up to $8,650 grants for structural repairs to households and up to $8,650 grants for replacement of essential household items.