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Financial assistance for Victorians affected by Gippsland bushfires

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Thursday 24 January 2013

Financial assistance for Victorians affected by Gippsland bushfires

Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu today announced low-interest concessional loans will be made available for eligible small businesses, primary producers and not-for-profit organisations affected by the bushfires in Gippsland.

The Aberfeldy-Donnelly bushfire has caused significant disruption to a number of farms and businesses in the Gippsland region.

Low-interest concessional loans of 1.7 per cent will be administered by the Rural Finance Corporation. Loans are limited to a maximum of $200,000 and the Rural Finance Corporation will work closely with eligible businesses to ensure their needs are adequately met.

These low-interest loans will go some way towards helping alleviate the financial burden of costs incurred by primary producers, small business and not-for-profit bodies as a direct result of the bushfires.

The low-interest loans are in addition to the Victorian Personal Hardship Assistance Program which is also available.

Damage assessments are ongoing in the Gippsland region. The fire is still going, and some areas are difficult to access.

The cost of the loans is being shared between the Victorian Coalition Government and the Commonwealth under the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements.

Our governments will continue to co-operate to deliver disaster assistance to those communities affected by these bushfires.

Under the Victorian Personal Hardship Assistance Program the following assistance is available to eligible households: Emergency relief assistance, which provides payments of up to $480 per adult and $240 per child up to a maximum of $1,200 per household to cover emergency shelter, food, clothing, or

personal items; and Emergency re-establishment assistance, which provides up to $30,000 per household for clean-up, emergency accommodation, repairs, rebuilding and replacing some damaged

contents. It is available to eligible Victorians in extreme hardship whose homes have become uninhabitable due to the current crisis, and whose insurance won’t be sufficient to make their homes habitable again.

People seeking emergency support or advice about their eligibility for financial assistance under the Victorian Personal Hardship Assistance Program should contact their local council or the Victorian Emergency Recovery Information Line on 1300 799 232. Information about the Personal Hardship Assistance Program is also available at

Information on low interest loans is available from Rural Finance on 1800 260 425 or at

Media contacts: Prime Minister's Press Office 02 6277 7744 Premier’s office - Kate Walshe 0411 472 299