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Victoria’s bushfire season is far from over. The Victorian Government is committed to supporting local communities affected by the devastating fires.

This appeal will provide practical support as impacted Victorians begin to rebuild their lives.

The Victorian Bushfire Appeal closed to donations on 31 December 2020. The Independent Advisory Panel recognises the incredible generosity of Australian and overseas donors. Your contributions have been critical to the relief and recovery of bushfire impacted communities.

What the Victorian Bushfire Appeal supports

More than $20 million has been made available for those most affected by the bushfires.

Victorian Bushfire Appeal Community Grants Program

The Victorian Bushfire Appeal Advisory Panel recognises that recovery efforts are more effective when they are community-led.

The Community Enterprise Foundation, based on the recommendation of the Victorian Bushfire Appeal Advisory Panel, has approved $4 million in funding for projects and programs aimed at community recovery across the Alpine, Towong and East Gippsland shires.

Organisations can apply to the Community Enterprise Foundation for funding to address short to medium-term recovery needs that are endorsed as community recovery priorities by their local Community Recovery Committee. 

Victorian Bushfire Appeal funds are charitable in nature and can only be used to support charitable activities.

Organisations wishing to access these grants should contact their local council or Community Recovery Committee for information on how to apply. Applications can be submitted at any time.

Information about Community Recovery Committees can be accessed on the Bushfire Recovery Victoria website.

Family Violence Services

In recognition of the fact that family violence escalates in the months following a disaster, the Victorian Bushfire Appeal Advisory Panel has committed almost $800,000 in Appeal funds to support family violence prevention and intervention work in bushfire impacted communities.

Gippsland Lakes Community Health, Gateway Health and Centre Against Violence are delivering new prevention and intervention programs as well as expanding and enhancing existing programs aimed at reducing the instances and impact of family violence.

People who have lost homes

Housing Assistance Payments of $25,000 have been made to owner/occupiers and renters whose principal place of residence was either destroyed or severely damaged by bushfire.

Payments are available through Windermere. Windermere are paying funds into the bank accounts of eligible individuals. To access the payment, please call Windermere on 1300 946 337 or email bushfirerecovery@windermere.org.au

Payments to families

Immediate payments of $50,000 have been made to each of the families of people who tragically died during Victoria’s recent bushfires.

Helping farmers

$1.525 million, provided through BlazeAid, is helping farmers replace boundary fences destroyed by the bushfires on their private property.

Visit the BlazeAid website for information on how to access this support and also how to volunteer.

Immediate support

Funding of up to $4 million has been distributed to support residents in bushfire-affected areas who experienced loss of, or damage to, their primary residence.

Amounts from $1,000 to $4,500 were made available to people who lost their principal place of residence. This included renters and home owners but did not include landlords. 

These payments were made available through the Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund, The Salvation Army and three Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations.

Victorian Bushfire Appeal Advisory Panel

An Advisory Panel, chaired by former Victorian Deputy Premier Pat McNamara, consider and recommend where funds are distributed.

Mr McNamara chairs the 7-person panel comprised of:

  • David Impey, Chief Executive Officer, Community Enterprise Foundation
  • Pam White, Chair, Country Fire Authority
  • Joanne Duncan, Former member for Gisborne
  • Natalie O’Connell, Councillor for East Gippsland Shire
  • Sue Cunningham, Director, Victoria, Red Cross
  • Lee Miezis, Chief Executive Officer, Bushfire Recovery Victoria

To contact the panel, please email vicbushfireappeal@brv.vic.gov.au

Where to get help

It is normal for a distressing or frightening event to affect you physically, mentally and emotionally. Long-running fires in your local area can be extremely stressful and can trigger emotional, physical and psychological reactions.

The Victorian Government is supporting on-the-ground services available to assist families to recover.

If at any time you are worried about your mental health or the mental health of a loved one, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

You can also contact:

  • your doctor or local community health centre
  • a counsellor or psychologist
  • Parentline, Phone: 13 22 89
  • Kids Helpline, Phone: 1800 55 1800
  • NURSE-ON-CALL Phone: 1300 60 60 24 for expert health information and advice (24 hours, 7 days)
  • Australian Psychological Society Referral Service, Phone: 1800 333 497

Call 000 if you or someone you know is in immediate danger.

Reviewed 30 March 2021

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