Westpac Backs Post-Disaster Community Recovery
13 August 2015 at 11:45 am
Westpac has opened its 2015 round of Natural Disaster Recovery Grants,offering up to $300,000 in financial assistance to help communities recovering from natural disasters earlier this year.
Communities in the fire damaged Adelaide Hills, cyclone-affected South East Queensland and West Arnhem, and those hit by major NSW East Coast storms and floods earlier this year know only too well that it’s only once the dust settles after a natural disaster that its true impact is realised.
Recognising that recovery in these communities is ongoing, Westpac Group has announced it will offer up to $300,000 in grants to local organisations in disaster-affected communities that are aiding their community’s social and economic recovery and building resilience.
Siobhan Toohill, Westpac Group Head of Sustainability said the grants are offered six to nine months after natural disasters to supplement their immediate support packages made available to communities at the time ofthe disasters.
“At Westpac, we have a long history of helping communities affected by natural disasters,” Toohill said.
“We pride ourselves on being first on the ground to assist customers suffering from the hardship. This includes offering relief packages with deferred repayment terms for home loans, increasing credit limits and fast tracking insurance claims. Our local people are also first to roll up their sleeves, volunteering their time to support clean-up efforts.
“But we’re also last to leave affected regions, by extending natural disaster recovery grants around six to nine months later. That’s because we’ve learnt from previous disasters that this timeframe is critical for the restoration of affected communities,” she said.
“We see these grants as providing much needed support not only for the recovery efforts, but also in building greater resilience to make affected communities stronger in the face of future events.”
Grants up to the value of $10,000 each will be offered to support recovery projects such as:
- Repairs and rebuilding of community infrastructure, to ensure local residents and community groups have places to meet and to coordinate and hold community activities;
- Regeneration of people and places, recognising that disaster recovery can lead to stress and anxiety, reduced capacity to fundraise and coordinate projects, and health and wellbeing issues among the broader affected community; or
- Economic development activities that assist with returning tourism to impacted regions and capturing opportunities for economic renewal.
Applications for this year's round of grants are now invited from local organisations in Adelaide Hills, South Australia, affected by bushfires in January 2015; Central Queensland, Fitzroy and Wide Bay Burnett, Queensland, impacted by Cyclone Marcia; East and West Arnhem, Northern
Territory, impacted by Cyclone Lam; and Hunter (including Dungog and Maitland), Newcastle, and Central Coast, New South Wales impacted by storms in April 2015.
Online applications can be made at http://www.westpac.com.au/ndrf2015 until 5pm (AEST) on Monday 7 September 2015.