Victoria Premier Ted Baillieu
Victoria Deputy Premier Peter Ryan
Victoria Minister for Bushfire Response Peter Ryan
Ongoing Support For Victorian Bushfires Recovery
Victor P Taffa
The Victorian Coalition Government has allocated $750,000 towards a new two-year grants program to strengthen leadership and resilience in bushfire-affected communities.
At a thank you reception for Community Recovery Committees (CRCs) in Melbourne today, Premier Ted Baillieu and Deputy Premier and Minister for Bushfire Response Peter Ryan announced details of a new joint bushfires initiative with the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR).
“Applications are now open for Skills, Training, Engagement and Practical Support (STEPS) grants of up to $30,000 for not-for-profit community groups in bushfire-affected areas to help deliver important local bushfire recovery projects.” Premier Baillieu said.
Premier Baillieu said the FRRR aimed to source an additional $1 Million from community donors so that up to $1.75 Million in grants would be available for community leadership programs, training, mentoring and practical support.
The Coalition Government today also announced that its new Fire Recovery Unit would begin operating from 1 July to provide ongoing support for bushfire-affected communities as part of the transition from the Victorian Bushfire Reconstruction and Recovery Authority (VBRRA) on 30 June.
“VBRRA has provided much-needed assistance to those within fire-affected communities for more than two and a half years and it is vitally important that ongoing help is available for those affected by the 2009 bushfires.” Premier Baillieu said.
Mr. Ryan said the new Fire Recovery Unit would be a dedicated unit within Government and a central contact point to oversee state-wide bushfire recovery efforts.
“The Fire Recovery Unit will monitor and report on rebuilding progress, distribute important information and provide advice and support to individuals, businesses and councils in bushfire-affected communities.” Mr. Ryan said.
Mr. Ryan said the Coalition Government recognised the need to continue supporting bushfire-affected communities.
“Experts acknowledge that the personal recovery from the fires will take years, not months, which is why there will continue to be measures in place to help the many individuals and communities who need assistance.” Mr. Ryan said.
“The Bushfire Communities Support Program has been operating successfully since March and will continue to deliver support when and where it is needed.”
“There is also funding for Bushfire Community Support workers in fire-affected communities and additional funding for local organisations in the Hume region to continue priority programs for counselling in the areas of drugs, alcohol and family violence and men’s counselling.”
Mr. Ryan said the free Rebuilding Advisory Service had also been extended in recognition of the ongoing support households needed with rebuilding their homes.
“The Coalition Government continues to fund this service which has now supported 1,000 households since July 2009, because for a variety of reasons people are still in the process of replacing their homes.” Mr. Ryan said.
Mr. Ryan said the public would still be able to call the Bushfire Information Line on 1800 240 667 for any information on programs or initiatives relating to the 2009 bushfires. The Bushfire Communities Support Program helpline is 1800 050 400.