Canberra, Jan 15 : Australia government has announced an additional 58 million Australian dollars (39.9 million US dollars) in support funding for bushfire-affected communities. Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Minister for Families and Social Services Anne Ruston announced on Wednesday that the funding would make more food vouchers, support services and financial assistance available to Australians affected by the ongoing crisis.
Families in bushfire-hit towns who are eligible for the Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment (DRP) will also receive an extra 400 AUD for each child. "I know many Australians are doing it really tough, they've seen their homes and livelihoods destroyed or damaged by these devastating fires," Morrison said.
"We are hoping this extra support will assist tens of thousands of people affected by bushfires to get through the coming days and weeks. "We will direct relief providers to team up with local businesses, so this money can have a dual effect of helping families get back on their feet, as well as boosting local economies." The national death toll for the bushfire season rose to at least 27 and more than 2,000 homes have been destroyed across the country.
Ruston announced that the government will invest in financial counselling for affected areas. "As affected Australians count the personal toll of these devastating fires we want to make sure they have support to plan and rebuild their lives," she said. "On the ground financial counsellors will provide free and confidential support including assessing a person's financial situation, identifying options and making decisions, advocating and negotiating with third parties such as banks and insurance companies and advising what other support services are out there." (UNI)