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Over $7 million distributed to bushfire affected communities



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Joint Media Release

Julia Gillard Prime Minister

Lara Giddings Premier

OVER $7 MILLION DISTRIBUTED TO BUSHFIRE AFFECTED COMMUNITIES

Fri 25 January 2013

The State and Commonwealth Governments have to date distributed $7.3 million in financial assistance to residents, businesses and community groups affected by the Tasmanian bushfires.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Premier Lara Giddings said both governments had been working together to quickly deliver relief to affected areas.

The funding is in addition to the $5 million raised to date in the official Red Cross Appeal Fund, which is now being distributed.

The Prime Minister has toured Dunalley to see first-hand the devastation caused by fires in communities such as Dunalley.

It is now important to recognise the need to get money flowing quickly to residents who lost property or were displaced by fire to cover the cost of everything from buying new clothes and essential items, to securing temporary accommodation.

The Commonwealth Government has handed out more than $6.7 million to date in Disaster Recovery Payments since 5 January, the day after the bushfires started.

These cash payments include $1,000 per eligible adult and $400 per eligible child.

The Tasmanian and Commonwealth Governments have also distributed $50,000 in Category C clean-up assistance grants for the removal of debris and further restoration for small business, primary producers and the not-for-profit sector.

Emergency Assistance Grants of up to $750 per family, were enacted just one day after the bushfires started.

So far $400,000 has been paid to over 1300 permanent resident households.

More than $205,000 in housing assistance grants has been provided, including:

- Temporary living grants of up to $8,875 to assist with living expenses;

- Essential household goods grants of up to $5,600 per household (plus $500 per additional household member up to a maximum of $8,875) for costs not covered by insurance, to assist with the replacement of essential household items; and

- Repair/replacement grants of up to $8,875 to assist with the reestablishment of the principal place of residence.

Beyond cash payments, the State Government is providing a range of other assistance to help communities get back on their feet.

This includes covering the cost of demolition and removal of destroyed and damaged property, with Hazell Bros partnering with local contractors to carry out this work.

The Commissioner of State Revenue has extended the time to pay Land Tax bills by three months for those suffering personal and financial loss from the bushfires.

And Aurora Energy has announced a package of measures to help customers across Tasmania who have been affected by the bushfire emergency.

This has involved a highly coordinated effort from across virtually all government agencies and the contribution of staff who have worked tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure that assistance is provided quickly to where it is needed most should be recognised.

Both governments will continue to monitor the needs of communities and stand ready to help wherever we can.