Delivering More Immediate Support To Australians Wildlife Impacted By Bushfires

Federal Member for La Trobe has joined Melbourne Zoos and Healesville Sanctuary to discuss wildlife recovery and habitat restoration strategies following Australia’s devastating bushfire crisis.

“We know that not all of these plants and animals have been impacted in the same way and that some species are more vulnerable to fire than others” Mr Wood said.

"I am working with the multicultural community to support Zoos Victoria’s Bushfire Emergency Wildlife Fund and has raised nearly $40,000 to support Zoos Victoria’s response in deploying critical care to the front line and recovering the surviving species” Mr Wood said.

“As a long-time supporter of Melbourne Zoo and Healesville Sanctuary, I know that their team of wildlife veterinary experts and conservation scientists are well equipped for the long road ahead” Mr Wood said.

“I am truly honoured and would thank all the individuals and groups for their generous donations and support in responding to this bushfire crisis as follows:

  • Malimage Suganda Fernando
  • Sri Durga Arts Cultural and Education Centre
  • Maulana Al-Shaikh Afeefudeen Al-Jailani
  • Gurdwara Baba Budha Sahib Ji, Pakenham

The Morrison Government provided $1 million in funding for Koala treatment and research to the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital, one of the country’s busiest wildlife hospitals in December last year, money that is already assisting the hospital’s rehabilitation work and funding new infrastructure. $50 million allocated to assist in the recovery and rehabilitation of our Wildlife. 

Government initiatives include:

Boosting emergency relief in bushfire affected areas

For communities directly affected by fire, emergency relief funding will be increased by $40 million.

These extra funds can be used for food vouchers or used to pay for a broad range of basics including utility bills, clothing and petrol.

In recognition of the crisis situation, this relief will also be made available as cash payments when necessary to help cover emergency costs for people who work or live in affected areas.

The funding will be primarily administered by the Salvation Army Property Trust and the St Vincent De Paul Society who collectively provide services across all affected areas who will be working with locally based organisations to ensure access for communities in need.

The hotline numbers are:

  • Salvation Army Disasters Assistance team: 1300 662 217
  • St Vincent de Paul bushfire assistance: 13 18 12

Existing emergency relief can be accessed through local community organisations which can be found by searching ‘Financial Crisis and Material Aid – Emergency Relief’ on the DSS Grants Service Directory.

Extra support for families

The Government will deliver an extra $400 to families for each child aged under 16 that is eligible for the Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment (AGDRP). This payment is in addition to the AGDRP and is not subject to income tax.

From Monday, this additional payment will begin flowing for new applicants. Families with children who have already received the AGDRP need not re-apply, their additional payment will follow over the course of next week.

The government is providing an additional $7.9 million for the families of the nearly 20,000 children affected by bushfires and already receiving the AGDRP and this funding is uncapped to meet the needs of more families who may be eligible for the AGDRP.

Expanding Financial Counselling services

An additional $10 million will be invested in financial counselling to deliver services in affected areas including extra support for the National Debt Helpline and increased funding for locally based providers in bush fire affected areas to deliver face-to-face services including through outreach.

The National Debt Helpline, which is often the first point of contact for people experiencing financial difficulties, can be accessed on 1800 007 007 or by visiting www.ndh.org.au

The Government also supports access to safe, affordable financial products that are not available through mainstream organisations for people on low incomes.

The No Interest Loans Scheme and StepUP, a low interest loan scheme, are available through Good Shepherd Microfinance. These are an alternative to other high risk, high interest products.