HELP IS AVAILABLE FOR THOSE AFFECTED BY BUSHFIRES
People affected by the bushfires in East Gippsland are eligible for a range of services and support.
Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester said navigating the help available could be confusing but encouraged those impacted to reach out for the help they need.
“Aside from the immediate assistance available through the Federal Government’s Disaster Recovery Payment scheme, those impacted are also eligible for a range of other support measures,” Mr Chester said.
“Practical assistance is available through the Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund, direct help can be accessed at relief and recovery centres, the Victorian Farmers Federation is assisting with fodder for livestock and there are a number of helplines ready to answer questions on anything from replacement of lost documents to financial counselling.
“This is an incredibly difficult time for many people and it is vital that all avenues for help are understood and accessible.”
A list of links and contact details can be found below and are also available on Mr Chester’s website at https://darrenchester.com.au/help-is-available-for-those-affected-by-bushfires/ .
CONTACTS AND LINKS
Incident Control Centres
Orbost: 5161 1222
Bairnsdale: 5152 0600
Wellington Shire Council
1300 366 244
East Gippsland Shire Council
Relief and recovery centres
- Bairnsdale Football Pavilion – Dalmahoy Street, Bairnsdale
- Bairnsdale Racecourse – Forge Creek Road, Bairnsdale
- Sale Baptist Church, cnr Princes Hwy and Cobains Rd, Sale (closed)
- Kernot Hall, 50-70 Princes Drive, Morwell (closed)
There is immediate financial support for those worst hit by bushfires.
The Disaster Recovery Payment provides $1000 for eligible adults and $800 for eligible children.
For those who have lost their income as a direct result of the bushfires, the Government will provide those eligible up to 13 weeks income support via the Disaster Recovery Allowance.
Payments are available now and eligibility can be checked at www.humanservices.gov.au/disaster or by calling 180 22 66.
This telephone line can also help with replacement Medicare cards, child support and Centrelink support for those impacted by the bushfires.
The Emergency Re-establishment Payment is available to those whose principal place of residence is uninhabitiable for more than seven days because of an emergency.
It provides up to $42,250 per eligible household for clean-up, emergency accommodation, repairs, rebuilding and replacing some damaged contents.
It is available to individuals or families who do not have home or contents insurance.
If you think you may be eligible for a re-establishment payment, you can speak to the payment assistance helpline on 1800 961 054, they will take your details and the Department of Health and Human Services team will contact you.
Households can also contact their local council or visit a relief centre to discuss assistance options.
Assistance is also available through the Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund.
GERF is a registered charity that provides financial assistance to residents who have suffered loss or hardship from emergency. This includes meeting immediate personal needs such as food, shelter, clothing, bedding, furniture and children’s education needs.
To apply for assistance through GERF, visit your nearest Relief and Recovery Centre (listed above) and speak to the municipal recovery team who can help you complete a referral.
The Victorian State Government’s Emergency Relief Assistance Payment provides up to $560 per adult and $280 per child (up to $1960 per eligible household) for those who are unable to access or live at their home because of an emergency.
To check eligibility or claim the payment visit a relief centre or contact the East Gippsland Shire on 5153 9500.
If you have relocated to Melbourne or other areas away from the relief centre you can call 1800 961 054.
People who have lost their homes this bushfire season can apply to the Australian Red Cross for an emergency grant of $5,000. Red Cross Emergency Grants are available to those who have lost their homes or are uninhabitable.
Get in touch through the Red Cross website: www.redcross.org.au/grant
Or call on 800 733 276 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Financial advice and guidance
Rural Financial Counselling Service: 1300 045 747 (free and independent financial support to primary producers and non-agriculture related small businesses)
National Debt Hotline: 1800 007 007 (staffed by financial counsellors)
Insurance Council of Australia: 1800 734 621 or www.disasters.org.au
Clothing and food
Volunteers at Lucknow Hall have been inundated with a range of household items to support fire victims.
Disaster Legal Help Victoria provide free information on any legal issues and options for ongoing assistance on 1800 113 432.
Replacing documents and identification
Department of Justice: 5215 8500
Passport replacement: www.passports.gov.au
Visit https://traffic.vicroads.vic.gov.au/ or download the VicTraffic app, follow @VicTraffic on Twitter or check the VicTraffic Facebook page @Vicroadsvictraffic
Agriculture and livestock
For all fodder requests or fodder donations, contact the Victorian Farmers Federation: 1300 882 833 or email@example.com
For all inquiries related to stock loss, contact Agricultural Victoria: 1800 226 226
Burying deceased livestock: EPA VIC – 1300 372 842
Water and water tanks
Anyone seeking emergency water assistance from bushfire affected areas should contact South East Water on 131 851.
Eligible permanent residents in the declared bushfire affected areas of East Gippsland and some parts of Wellington Shire will be provided a tank water flush and top-up of 5,000 litres.
For more information on ash in water tanks visit www.eastgippsland.vic.gov.au/Service/Public_Health/Bushfires_and_your_health or call the EPA on 1300 372 842.
Property owners who have had their water taken from dams or other private water supplies by DELWP or CFA can apply to have it replaced.
The request must be submitted within 3 months of the essential water being taken for bushfire fighting operations.
To make a request download and fill out the form found at www.ffm.vic.gov.au and search for ‘public land recovery’
Email the completed form to firstname.lastname@example.org
Health and wellbeing
Lifeline: 13 11 14
NURSE ON CALL: 1300 60 60 24 (24/7 hotline)
Parentline: 13 22 89
Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800
Steps to take if you’ve lost your home to fire
- Contact power company for disconnection of service, stop account.
- Contact gas company to recover gas bottles and stop account.
- Contact East Gippsland water, stop account.
- Contact Australia post to redirect or stop mail.
- Contact council to adjust rates notice, no house or capital improvements.
- Contact Insurance company, get registered.