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Media Release by The Hon Bill Shorten MP

Additional support for Victoria’s bushfire affected communities

Joint Media Release with:

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

The Australian Government will provide a further $1.5 million to support communities affected by the Victorian bushfires.

Community Services Minister Jenny Macklin said the funding would go to volunteer resource centres, counselling and organisations supporting young people affected by the fires.

“Repairing the damage done by the February 7 fires will be a long and difficult task,” Ms Macklin said.

“This funding will go towards the valuable work of many organisations who are working tirelessly to support bushfire victims.”

The funding will be distributed as follows:

  • $390,000 to 13 Volunteer Resource Centres;
  • $900,000 to 6 community organisations that work with young people; and
  • $240,000 to 6 counselling services.

Each Volunteer Resource Centre will receive $30,000 for the additional demands generated by the significant offers of help from volunteers across Victoria following the bushfires.

The Volunteer Resource Centres have been called upon to provide follow up support and referral to volunteers offering their time and skills to the bushfire affected communities.

An enormous effort is required in directing volunteers to areas where they will be most valuable and this funding will allow centres to improve their skills and resources.

Volunteering Victoria reported that more than 22,000 individuals volunteered following the recent bushfires.

“The tragedy of the bushfires has brought out the generosity of the Australian community and its army of volunteers,” Ms Macklin said.

“This funding will help volunteer organisations who are working to rebuild communities after the bushfires to make the most of the skills and enthusiasm of volunteers.”

A total of $900,000 will be provided to six community organisations to support their response to the needs of young people whose lives have been affected by the fires.

Whittlesea Secondary College has reported approximately 300 of its 800 students have been directly affected by the bushfires.

Many young people are having to cope with emergency accommodation, separation from friends and disrupted schooling.

This funding enables the community organisations to provide counselling and recreational services to these young people.

An additional $240,000 will be directed to organisations to provide a comprehensive range of counselling services to families and children directly affected by the Victorian bushfires.

This commitment builds on the $200,000 already provided to five community organisations in the immediate response to the disaster.

Parliamentary Secretary for Victorian Bushfire Reconstruction Bill Shorten said that although 100 days had passed since the fires, there was still a strong need to provide long-term support for the communities affected.

“Rebuilding will be a long and difficult process and we need to keep providing assistance to communities and individuals in every way we can, to ensure that they do not fall between the cracks,” Mr Shorten said.

Volunteer Resource Centres in Victoria

Volunteering Victoria – Melbourne Victoria $30,000
The Geelong Volunteer Resource Centre Inc Victoria $30,000
Albury Wodonga Volunteer Resource Bureau Inc Victoria $30,000
Wimmera Volunteers Inc Victoria $30,000
Monash Volunteer Resource Centre Inc Victoria $30,000
Bendigo Regional YMCA Youth Services Inc Victoria $30,000
Warrnambool City Council Victoria $30,000
The Centre for Continuing Education Inc – Wangaratta Victoria $30,000
City of Boroondara Victoria $30,000
Vision Australia (Ballarat Volunteer Resource Centre) Victoria $30,000
North East Volunteer Resource Centres Inc – Heidelberg Victoria $30,000
Eastern Volunteer Resource Centre Inc – Ringwood Victoria $30,000
Volunteer West Incorporated – Footscray Victoria $30,000

Supporting young people affected by the fires

North East Support & Action for Youth Inc. Covering the Beechworth fires $100,000
St. Luke’s Anglicare Covering the Bendigo fires $100,000
Kildonan Child & Family Services Covering the Whittlesea, Western Murrindindi and Mitchell fires $200,000
Nillumbik Community Health Services Inc. Covering the Nillumbik and Central Murrindindi fires $200,000
Eastern Access Community Health Inc Covering the Yarra Ranges and Eastern Murrindindi fires $200,000
Quantum Support Services Inc Covering the Gippsland fires $100,000

Counselling Services

Anglicare Victoria Parenting, family counselling and support in the Lilydale, Lalor, Whittlesea, Broadmeadows and Gippsland areas $40,000
Berry Street Counselling to parents and teenagers in Kinglake, St Andrews, Alexandra, Seymour, Yea, Morwell, Shepparton, Wangaratta and Campbellfield $40,000
Relationships Australia Victoria Relationship counselling in Traralgon, Greensborough, Nillumbik and Whittlesaa $40,000
Family Mediation Centre Relationship counselling in Wallan, Whittlesea and Nillumbik $40,000
Centacare Ballarat Relationship and family counselling in Ballarat, Colac, Bacchus Marsh and Horsham regions $40,000
Family Life Family Relationships Centre and Early Information Services in Frankston/Mornington Peninsula area $40,000