The Victorian Government has offered support on several fronts since the effects of the bushfires took hold. Below is a brief summary of the official action taken by the Victorian Government to address the needs of bushfire victims. For a more complete list and further details on these measures, you may wish to read the full text of the announcements on the Premier of Victoria Media Centre site.
- Bushfire assistance of up to $1960 per family has been extended to communities in 14 Victorian council areas to help relieve personal hardship and distress. This provides payments of up to $560 per adult and $280 per child, to a maximum of $1,960 per family. The payments are to help meet immediate needs of those most affected and could be used for expenses such as such as food, emergency shelter, medicine and clothing.
- Emergency water relief: Residents in bushfire affected areas who are without drinking and domestic water supply due to tank contamination now have a single point of contact to call for assistance.
- Providing dedicated support coordinators to help affected families access the services and information they need. Announced a $14.4 million Victorian Bushfires Case Support Program will immediately be available for people in fire affected areas in Gippsland and North East Victoria. Support coordinators will be a single point of contact for those who need it.
- Tax relief for businesses, families and individuals in bushfire-affected communities. Businesses, families, and individuals whose properties have been destroyed or substantially damaged by bushfires will receive ex-gratia relief for their 2020 land tax assessment. Land tax will be also be waived on eligible properties being used to provide free accommodation for people who need it. For people who decide not to rebuild in their local community, the Government will provide up to $55,000 in stamp duty relief if they buy a home elsewhere. For people who lost motor vehicles due to bushfires, they can receive up to $2100 in ex-gratia relief from the duty on up to two replacement vehicles.
- Landfill levy waiver for those disposing of bushfire waste.
- Provision of assistance to farmers affected by bushfires in East Gippsland and north-east Victoria. The Agriculture Victoria Relief and Recovery Incident Management Team has been established and will be based at the DJPR Biosecurity Centre at Attwood, with command posts at Wodonga and Bairnsdale.
- An independent investigation into the 2019-2020 Victorian fire season. The Government has asked the Inspector General for Emergency Management to lead an inquiry into Victoria’s preparedness for and response to these recent fires, and to review relief and recovery efforts. The Government will provide an additional $2.55 million to the IGEM to undertake the inquiry.
- Bushfire cleanup at zero cost. Victorians who have had their homes, shops and sheds destroyed in this season’s bushfires can have their properties cleaned up at no cost.
- A business support initiative to help communities recover from the shocks to their local economies.
- A $13.45 million package for teachers and school-age children returning to instruction in bushfire-affected areas.
- Additional tax relief, including payroll tax relief, reduced stamp duty, waiver of water rates and support for local councils.
- Support for farmers to assist with livestock health and safety
- Wildlife and biodiversity recovery assistance and support for wildlife shelter and foster carers
- An initiative to revive patronage at regional bushmarkets by hosting a special bushmarket event in Port Melbourne on Sunday, 2 February
- Funding for a bushfire relief concert benefitting Cudgewa and the Upper Murray region
- Fence-repair funding for areas between private land and national parks
- $2.5 million for assisting the local wine industry with recovery
- Additional support for bushfire-affected students at TAFE Gippsland
- The launch of a Bushfire Recovery round of the Regional Events Fund
- Special resilience programs for businesses in Alpine, Towong and East Gippsland shires
- New backing for bushfire-affected communities in East Gippsland and North East Victoria
The Federal Government has also launched measures to offer relief to bushfire victims:
- Small business relief for bushfire-affected communities, including grant funding, concessional loans, tax relief, economic development plans and dedicated contact points for information
- Financial support for bushfire-affected families
- Mental health support for firefighters, emergency personnel, individuals and communities
Depending on the area in which you live, the following websites offer helpful information about bushfire relief from various agencies.
- East Gippsland Shire Council, bushfire support and information
- Vic Emergency financial and legal assistance
- Bushfire Recovery Victoria
- Insurance Council of Australia
We will continue to update this page as further announcements are made by state and federal governments.