Caretaker message

Thank you for visiting this website. In the period preceding an election, the Australian Government assumes a caretaker role.
The Department of Social Services hosts this website and the department will manage it in accordance with the Guidance on Caretaker Conventions.

Media Release by The Hon Bill Shorten MP

Australian Government extends support for Victorians affected by bushfires

Joint Media Release with:

  • The Hon Jenny Macklin MP, Minister for Families Housing Community Services and Indigenous Affairs

Employees, farmers and small business operators affected by the Victorian bushfires will continue to receive financial support from the Australian Government’s Income Recovery Subsidy, which has been extended by 13 weeks.

The subsidy provides fortnightly assistance equivalent to the maximum rate of Newstart Allowance to Australian residents or eligible foreign nationals over 16 years of age.

, Jenny Macklin said the extension of this payment would ensure that those who were eligible would continue to receive financial help as they recovered from the impact of the fires.

“Victorians affected by the fires face a huge challenge as they rebuild and start over,” Ms Macklin said.

“We understand that for many people it will take many months, if not years, to get back on their feet.”

“Extending the Income Recovery Subsidy means that eligible people, including those who continue to experience loss of income as a result of the fires, will receive financial support.

“It demonstrates the Government’s commitment to be there for the long haul.”
To date over 3,300 claims for Income Recovery Subsidy have been paid totalling $5.8 million.

Parliamentary Secretary Bill Shorten said the extension of payments recognised that recovery was only just beginning for many people and communities affected by the fires.

“Many small businesses and farms are not fully operational and some employees are yet to return to work.

“Over 49,000 people have received disaster assistance payments or income subsidy, and we will continue to provide support where it is needed.”

The extension of the Income Recovery Subsidy will ensure that those eligible will receive up to 26 weeks of financial help as they recover from the damage done by the fires.

This Subsidy complements a range of services, payments and assistance already available under the Commonwealth Government Recovery Assistance Package to further help Australians adversely affected by the economic impacts associated with the Victorian Bushfires.

Centrelink will be contacting existing customers to determine if they are eligible for an extension of their Income Recovery Subsidy.

For more information please visit Centrelink website (www.centrelink.gov.au) or contact the Australian Government Victorian Bushfires Hotline on 180 2211 or TTY service FreeCALLâ„¢ 1800 810 586.