Additional Disaster Assistance For Bushfire Affected Communities In Victoria

Minister for Justice Michael Keenan and Victorian Minister for Emergency Services Jane Garrett today announced disaster assistance in response to the bushfires that affected Victorian communities on 25 December 2015.

The assistance is being provided under the jointly-funded Commonwealth-State Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA).

Individuals in the local government areas of Colac-Otway and Surf Coast will now be able to access the following emergency grants to relieve personal hardship and distress:

Emergency Relief Assistance, which provides payments of up to $520 per adult and $260 per child (up to a maximum of $1,300 per household) available to help meet immediate needs, including emergency food, shelter, clothing, and personal items.

Emergency Re-establishment Payments, which provide up to $32,500 per eligible household for clean-up, emergency accommodation, repairs, rebuilding (a principal place of residence), and replacing some damaged contents.

In addition, affected individuals and families will be able to access personal and financial counselling; and affected local councils will be able to seek assistance with the costs of clean-up operations and restoration of essential public assets.

These measures were made available to the Surf Coast local government area on 21 December and have today been extended to the Colac-Otway local government area.

Anyone who has been affected by the bushfires and is suffering personal hardship and distress should call the Victorian Emergency Recovery Information Line on 1300 799 232 to find out about the assistance that is available.

Affected local councils should contact the Department of Treasury and Finance on (03) 9651 2327 or by email, to discuss the availability of assistance

Information about the assistance can be found through Emergency Relief and Recovery Victoria or on the Australian Government’s Disaster Assist website at

Quotes attributable to The Hon Michael Keenan, Commonwealth Minister for Justice

“The Australian and Victorian governments recognise the need for quick action to help affected communities recover from the devastating impacts of yesterday’s Christmas bushfires.”

“This assistance includes a number of arrangements to help with the cost of relief and recovery, and is in addition to a range of other assistance measures already available in response to the bushfires that occurred on 19 December 2015.”

“The Australian and Victorian Governments will continue to work together to monitor the impacts of these fires and provide assistance to affected communities if required.”

Quotes attributable to Jane Garrett, Victorian Minister for Emergency Services

“The relief grants will help support local communities so they can recover as quickly as possible.”

“It has been devastating for these communities at Christmas time, which is why we are making sure people have the support they need.”

“While firefighters are working tirelessly to contain the bushfires, we are not in the clear yet.”

“I urge all those affected to remain aware of the conditions and listen to the direction of emergency management authorities.”