Relief Measures Setup As Victorian Flood Crisis Worsens
Tuesday, 18th January 2011 at 4:44 pm
As Victoria’s flood crisis continues to worsen, Premier Ted Baillieu has launched a $5 million fund to assist in the clean up.
So far 51 Victorian towns have been affected by the floods, with 20 more town likely to be hit in the coming days.
The Government’s volunteer website is registering volunteers who want to help out in the flood relief effort, and the Red Cross has launched a Victorian Flood Relief Appeal, which is taking donations.
Not for Profit organisations in Victoria who have been affected by the floods, along with small businesses and primary producers, can apply for a clean up and restoration grant of up to $15,000 from the Rural Finance Corporation. Larger low interest loans (up to $200,000) will also be available, visit www.ruralfinance.com.au or call 5448 2600.
The Commonwealth Bank has already committed to donate $250,000 to the Victorian Premier’s Red Cross Flood Appeal. Anyone wanting to donate can visit the the Red Cross website or phone 1800 811 700.
The government is offering emergency grants through the Department of Human Services regional offices. – the grants are up to $1067 per household in personal hardship, $8650 for temporary living expenses, $8650 for structural repairs to homes and $8650 for replacing essential household items.
Premier Baillieu also announced the creation of a new Cabinet Flood Task Force to be chaired by the Premier to co-ordinate immediate additional help for affected families, businesses and communities.
The Victorian floods will have long-term impacts on vulnerable members of the community who will need additional assistance during the recovery process, says the Victorian Council of Social Service (VCOSS).
Cath Smith, Chief Executive Officer of VCOSS says the floods are hitting areas that have only just come out of a decade of drought. She says these are resilient communities but they will need the support of the Victorian Government and public during the crisis and through the recovery period ahead.
Smith says among the more than 50 towns affected are some of the most disadvantaged and vulnerable communities and people there will require long-term support beyond the emergency grants the government has already made available.
She says the State Government should act quickly to implement those recommendations of the Bushfire Royal Commission which focused on ensuring safer, more resilient communities in the face of emergencies and natural disasters.
The Victorian government’s volunteering website says that at the moment the most effective help that anyone can give is by making a cash donation.
The website says some flood-affected communities may need assistance during the emergency relief effort.
The website encourages people with some experience in emergency relief situations, people who have current police checks, working with children checks or first aid qualifications to sign up to the Volunteer in an Emergency Register. http://www.volunteer.vic.gov.au/information-for-volunteers/volunteering-in-an-emergency/register-as-an-emergency-volunteer
Flood victims are being invited to contact the Law Institute of Victoria for free legal advice.
LIV President Caroline Counsel says Victorians who have been affected by these devastating floods are encouraged to call the LIV for information on their legal rights and entitlements. She says people’s lives have been turned upside down and the Law Insititute of Victoria wants to help. The number to call is 9607 9311.
The Insurance Council of Australia has declared a Catastrophe in North Western Victoria and is urging policyholders to contant their insurance company as soon as possible.
The ICA has established a 24 hour emergency hotline to assist residents impacted by the floods. The hotline number is 1300 728 228 and can be accessed by residents who cannot recall their insurance details, or have general enquiries.