Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Support for families affected by disaster

Joint Media Release with:

  • Jenny Macklin MP, Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs
    Shayne Neumann MP, Member for Blair

  • Julie Collins MP, Parliamentary Secretary for Community Services
    Shayne Neumann MP, Member for Blair

Families and individuals in Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales affected by recent disasters will continue to receive help getting back on their feet with $15.7 million from the Gillard Government.

Parliamentary Secretary for Community Services, Julie Collins and the Member for Blair, Shayne Neumann, announced today that the funding will allow much-needed support provided by existing Emergency Relief and Commonwealth Financial Counselling services to continue at current levels until December 2012.

Across the three states, there are currently around 320 Emergency Relief services providing food, clothing and access to accommodation for families and individuals in disaster affected areas.

As well, 24 Commonwealth Financial Counselling services are helping families and individuals with financial issues such as managing debts and budgeting in the wake of the floods and cyclone.

These services received a significant funding boost as part of the Government’s response to the Global Financial Crisis in 2009.

Today’s announcement continues that funding boost in recognition of the major rebuilding task facing disaster affected communities and the vital role of emergency relief and financial counselling services in those communities.

The announcement will ensure that service providers have the capacity to continue to assist people who need support to rebuild their lives. The services are delivered by a range of community, local government and charitable organisations.

This announcement has been made in recognition of the pressing needs facing disaster affected communities. Announcements about funding arrangements for emergency relief and financial counseling programs across Australia will be made at a later date.

In addition to today’s announcement, the Gillard Government is delivering short-term support, to 30 June 2011, to assist disaster affected communities in Queensland’s cyclone and flood affected areas. This additional support is for:

  • 17 Queensland organisations will receive a funding boost of over $200,000 to deliver Emergency Relief services at 33 locations affected by Cyclone Yasi.
  • Four Queensland organisations will receive $122,000 to provide additional free financial counselling services to families and individuals.
  • Good Shepherd Youth and Family Services, who will redirect $465,000 of their existing Government grant to assist local families and individuals in financial hardship to access no-interest and reduced-rate loans for items such as fridges, washing machines and used cars under the No Interest Loans (NILS) and StepUp schemes.

This is in addition to the $1.03 million for emergency relief services in the flood affected areas announced by the Government in February.

The Australian Government understands that recovery after the natural disasters will take time and is standing by communities, individuals and families to help them rebuild.