Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

National Tsunami Website

The Australian Government has established a national tsunami assistance website to provide help to Australians affected by the Indian Ocean tsunami disaster.

The Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson today said the website, provides important information on available assistance, contact details, fact sheets, media releases and related links.

“This website is a one-stop shop for any Australian wanting information on the range of support and services available to those people affected by this catastrophe,” Senator Patterson said.

“Not only does it provide direct information, importantly, it has links to other key agencies that are also providing assistance.

“The Australian Government is working closely with the states and territories, domestic and international aid agencies, the business sector and members of the public to respond to the magnitude of this disaster.”

Support and assistance is available for Australians and their families affected by the tsunami through the December 2004 – Tsunami Recovery Assistance Package, recently announced by Minister for Human Services, Joe Hockey.

The package includes assistance to eligible Australians for: domestic travel within Australia to reunite family members, funeral and associated costs, and help for people returning to Australia in exceptional circumstances. Out of pocket costs are covered for a wide range of healthcare for survivors and for counselling and psychological care of members of their families.

Senator Patterson said the Australian Government, in cooperation with state and territory governments also had a 24-hour hotline to support Australian victims and their families.

“If you are seeking information about assistance, including help with counselling, and information about help with medical costs, the hotline number is 1800 057 111 (FreeCALLâ„¢).

“Australians wishing to check on friends and relatives in affected areas can call the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade hotline on 1800 002 214.”