Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Counselling services to help families cope in aftermath of bushfires

The Australian Government is providing additional counselling support services to Victorian bushfire survivors through a $200,000 boost to five community organisations.

The new support builds on the Australian Government’s Family Relationship Services Program.

The increased funding will be available to provide counselling services to families and children to help them deal with the impact of the devastating fires.

Families are under enormous pressure coping with the trauma of surviving the fires.

Relationships are under pressure and parents are doing their best to support children who have lost school friends, neighbours, pets and their homes.

Families are facing the daunting task of finding somewhere to live, getting children back to school and coping with the constant challenges of family life.

We must give parents the support and strength to hold their families together.

The Australian Government’s Family Relationship Services will help survivors cope and get their lives back together.

Five Victorian providers will each receive $40,000 to deliver increased services through existing premises and staff through to June 2009.

  • Centrecare Sandhurst will deliver grief, individual, family and relationship counselling and drought counselling in and around Bendigo.
  • Goulburn Valley Family Care will deliver counselling services in Seymour;
  • Eastern Access Community Health will provide counselling with extensive service coverage in the Yarra Valley with outlets at Healesville and Yarra Junction;
  • Upper Hume Community Health will deliver counselling, child psychology and other support services in North East Victoria. They provide outreach to Mytleford and Beechworth; and
  • Centacare Melbourne will deliver family and community services to affected communities of Churchill and Bunyip.

As well, case managers and Centrelink social workers are working on the ground supporting families and communities.