Disaster assistance packages ready

KEY Gippsland communities – Wellington Shire, East Gippsland, Latrobe City and Baw Baw – will receive disaster assistance from the recent floods under a jointly funded Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA).

Other regions to receive help due to the severe weather events in Victoria’s east are the Rural Cities of Benalla and Wangaratta, and the Shires of Mansfield and Yarra Ranges.

The two levels of government said activation of these arrangements allowed councils to undertake a range of relief and recovery activities, such as the establishment and operation of relief centres.

The support also provides funding for counter disaster operations carried out by councils to make residential properties safe and habitable, and emergency works to urgently restore transport infrastructure and the reconstruction of essential public assets like roads, bridges and footpaths.

Additionally, emergency relief payments have been made available for people whose homes have been directly affected in Wellington and East Gippsland, and Wangaratta Rural City.

East Gippsland and Wellington Shire Council residents are also eligible for bushfire assistance, including emergency relief payments, relating to the bushfires that started burning on Saturday, September 30.

The federal Minister for Emergency Management, Murray Watt, said residents had faced challenging conditions battling dual disasters.

“The bushfires caused power outages, destroyed at least one home and triggered evacuations, right before the floods blocked roads, inundated and isolated properties,” Minister Watt said.

“The Albanese government and our National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) worked closely with the Victorian government and state agencies throughout the events, and will now continue to assist through the recovery process.

“Last year’s Victorian floods and the Black Summer fires are still fresh in the minds of lots of locals, and I’d really encourage people to reach out to mental health support providers like Lifeline, Beyond Blue, MensLine, and Head to Health if they need support with the impact to their mental health and wellness.”

Victoria’s Minister for Emergency Services, Jaclyn Symes, said it was important that communities were supported now and throughout their recovery.

“The funding will allow local councils to respond to the health and safety of their communities in a way they know their community needs,” Minister Symes said.

“We will continue to monitor the needs of affected communities as the water recedes and the extent of damage becomes clearer.”

Affected local councils should reach Emergency Management Victoria via email ndfa@justice.vic.gov.au to discuss the availability of assistance.

Councils not included in this initial list that subsequently identify as impact should notify Emergency Management Victoria via the claims management system or ndfa@justice.vic.gov.au

For more information on the emergency financial assistance payments, visit the Victorian Department of Families, Fairness and Housing DFFH Personal Hardship Assistance Program webpage and complete the online application form.

Information on disaster assistance is available on the federal government’s website at disasterassist.gov.au and the Vic Emergency website at emergency.vic.gov.au/relief