Extra funds for Victoria’s fire-affected communities

By Angela Dorizas

Victorian communities affected by the February bushfires will receive an additional $193 million for rebuilding and recovery efforts.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Victorian Premier John Brumby announced the two-year funding package for fire affected communities on a visit to Flowerdale today.

The Australian and Victorian Governments will provide a combined $117 million, the Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund will contribute $56 million and businesses will donate $20 million towards the recovery effort.

Mr Rudd described the Rebuilding Together Plan as the largest recovery and reconstruction effort Australia has ever faced.

“Through this plan we will rebuild schools, community facilities and other vital infrastructure lost in the fires,” he said.

“We will regenerate the natural environment, stimulate local economic recovery and continue to support individuals and families as they rebuild their homes, businesses, community infrastructure and local economies.”

Mr Brumby said there was still an “enormous task” ahead of them.

“So far 3048 properties have been cleaned up, nearly 1000 building permits have been issued by bushfire-affected councils, 30 Community Recovery Committees have been established and temporary villages are up and running at Marysville, Kinglake, Flowedale with temporary accommodation also opened at Whittlesea,” he said.

“But there is still much more to do. This plan is the culmination of hours of careful thought and discussions across fire-devastated communities about what they need – not only to recover – but to secure stable, sustainable and bright futures.”

The plan includes:

  • $93.4 million to support people and communities rebuild through ongoing accommodation support, counselling services and rebuilding key community assets including upgrading more than 20 community halls, building new community centres and restoring sports and recreation facilities, parks, gardens, walking and cycling trails;
  • $60.5 million to drive reconstruction including new co-located, multipurpose facilities that will improve education and recreation services in Kinglake, Flowerdale, Calignee and Marysville as well as a new primary school in Strathewen and Marysville Police Station;
  • $21.6 million to help stimulate economic recovery with support to assist small business to return to pre-fire operating levels, new tourism marketing campaigns, new National and State Park facilities to attract visitors and the restoration of the iconic Lake Mountain Alpine Resort as a major summer and winter tourism destination; and
  • $17.5 million to rehabilitate the environment and address environmental problems caused by the fires including urgent action to protect threatened species and habitats, to regenerate State forests, helping farmers and landholders restore their land and repairing critical waterways and catchments.

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