AU$110 funding boost for bush fire recovery

Friday 4 Sep 2020

The Victorian Government has unveiled a new blueprint for the state’s fire-affected regions and more than AU$110 million for local projects that create jobs and help communities recover from the summer’s devastating bushfires.

Minister for Police and Emergency Services Lisa Neville has released Bushfire Recovery Victoria’s Eastern Victoria Fires 2019-20 State Recovery Plan, which sets out the journey ahead for bushfire-affected communities over the next 12 to 18 months as they move from the short-term ‘stabilising’ phase to longer-term rebuilding and recovery.

It outlines AU$78.06 million for region-wide projects vital for recovery including:

• AU$10 million to repair and reinstate roads, crossings and fire-tower infrastructure and AU$8 million to ensure the safety of the arterial road network
• AU$7.7 million to fund new seed stocks and directly sow forest areas by hand and helicopter, and AU$5 million to protect rare and threatened species from pests and predators
• AU$6.4 million for safety works in parks and forests so they are fit for public use and AU$1.2 million to support a major event review of Regional Forest Agreements
• AU$4.8 million to support Aboriginal community organisations, businesses, jobs and infrastructure
• AU$5.1 million to fund legal assistance and AU$2 million to provide tailored financial counselling for bushfire-affected individuals and businesses.

In addition, the State Recovery Plan also delivers AU$34.3 million towards the Local Economic Recovery program – matching a previous Commonwealth Government contribution. Both levels of government will work together on economic recovery projects shaped and supported by local communities including councils, Community Recovery Committees, businesses and other local groups.

The State Recovery Plan is underpinned by the State Recovery Framework and sets an agenda for recovery across the natural environment, buildings and infrastructure, business and economy and health and wellbeing.

The 2019-20 bushfires were the most extensive in living memory. The fires burnt over 1.5 million hectares, destroyed hundreds of properties, significantly affected local economies and tragically, took five lives.

The State Recovery Plan focuses heavily on helping communities during the rebuilding phase of recovery - in the aftermath of the fires the Victorian Government acted quickly to ensure access to emergency housing, deliver the Victorian Bushfires Case Support Program, undertake the massive state-wide clean-up, and administer tens of millions in grants to families and businesses. Bushfire Recovery Hubs were established across the fire-affected areas and Community Recovery Committees soon followed.

With clean-up nearly complete and over 2,500 destroyed or damaged structures cleared free-of-charge from over 700 properties, eligible bushfire-affected households are now getting dedicated planning advice and support and the option of high-quality short-term modular housing to live in for up to three years while they progress their permanent rebuild. The extra funding announced means the Victorian Government has now invested more than AU$420 million for bushfire response and recovery.

For a copy of the State Recovery Plan and to see what services and support is available, click here.

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