With the escalation of devastating and widespread bushfires across large parts of Victoria and New South Wales, I am encouraging Victorians to dig deep to support bushfire impacted communities.

Whether it’s donating money to welfare agencies such as the Red Cross, the CFA, the Victorian Bushfire Appeal, farming initiatives such as the VFF Disaster Relief Fund or BlazeAid or animal rescue organisations, there is a way to help.

People can donate to Victoria’s Bushfire Disaster Appeal through Bendigo Bank branches or online at https://www.vic.gov.au/bushfireappeal.  A full list of organisations to which Victorians can support is at https://farmhub.org.au/australian-bushfires-how-you-can-help/.

While Victorians have been asked to donate money and not goods, there are other ways to help such as providing farming land for agistment or volunteering to support wonderful organisations such as BlazeAid.

My office is on stand by to provide any assistance whatsoever – please call (03) 5221 5900.

The donations raised to date have been incredible; whether it’s from comedian Celeste Barber, international artist Pink, sports stars, local schools and organisations or children running lemonade stands.

My heart goes out to those impacted by these devastating bushfires.  These fire conditions are unprecedented and while we are prepared, well organised and well resourced, the rapidly escalating damage and the heart-breaking human cost and massive loss of stock and wildlife calls for nothing less than an all-out response.

The Australian Government is acting to:

  • Establish a $2 billion bushfire recovery fund to be managed by the National Bushfire Recovery Agency;
  • Call out Australian Defence Force Reserve Brigades for the first time in the country’s history;
  • Deploy HMAS Adelaide to support the efforts of HMAS Choules and MV Sycamore as well as additional helicopters and aircraft to support the bushfire fighting effort and recovery;
  • Lease four extra water bombing planes for the States and Territories to deploy;

This is in addition to other commitments including:

  • Delivering nearly $25 million in Disaster Recovery Funds to those impacted by the fires;
  • Deploying the Defence Force to provide relief to isolated communities and reconnect power, restore communications and ensure essential supplies including water, evacuate civilians, fly in critical supplies and clear firebreaks;
  • Opening Mobile Service Centres and extending Centrelink’s phone hours; and
  • Committing $40 million to jointly funded community development grants

Financial assistance is already being delivered in 69 local government areas across Australia.  People wanting to apply for disaster recovery payments are encouraged to call 180 22 66 as it’s the fastest and easiest way to claim.

The Australian Government will continue to support a nationally coordinated State and Territory led operational response through Emergency Management Australia and Australian Defence Force Joint Task Forces in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia/Tasmania.

7 January 2020

Media contact: Kerry Ridgeway 0408 316 298