Bushfire Funds Not Claimed
17 March 2011 at 3:00 pm
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Millions of donated dollars have still not been claimed by people who lost their homes in the Victorian Black Saturday Bushfires in 2009.
The Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund (VBAF) is calling for people who lost their permanent residence to apply for assistance from the Fund if they are not yet in permanent accommodation and are experiencing financial difficulty.
Advisory Panel Chair Pat McNamara says that while more than $4.6 million had been allocated in 309 payments to people in need of permanent accommodation and suffering financial hardship, a Victorian Bushfire Reconstruction and Recovery Authority housing survey in August last year indicated there were still many people who could potentially apply for the gift.
The Fund estimates that several hundred people may still be eligible for the payments.
McNamara says the Fund is keen to ensure as many people as possible, who lost their principle place of residence in the fires and are eligible for this gift, can receive assistance.
He says the Fund has always believed that the medium to long term needs of bushfire affected people be taken care of which is why we have ensured this financial assistance package is available.
He says the Fund has committed $15.69 million to this gift allocation which means they still have large capacity within the allocation to assist many more people.
Applications for the financial hardship and in need of permanent accommodation gift close on April 15.
Under the gift, eligible people may receive $10,000 if they have a significant level of need or $25,000 for an exceptional need.
Mr McNamara says the Fund had made a strategic decision shortly after it was set up in February 2009 that money needed to be allocated to medium and long term issues such as extended financial hardship.
He says the Fund understands people may not believe there is still financial support available to them. But the Fund took a very important decision to not only look after people in the immediate aftermath of the fires but also to have assistance available for people over a longer period.
He says the Fund identified that while many people needed support and assistance straight after the fires, there would also be others whose needs would continue over many years.
For information about gift and eligibility criteria, please contact 1800 180 213 or visit