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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 20574

Victorian Bushfire Appeal

Photo of Howard, John

Howard, John

Period of Service: 11/03/1996 to 03/12/2007

More information about Howard, John on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 18/02/2003

Release Type: Media Release

Transcript ID: 20574

The Commonwealth Government will make a contribution of $1 million to the Victorian Bushfire Recovery Appeal Fund established to assist families and communities who have been affected by the extremely serious bushfires in that state. This contribution matches that made by the Victorian Government.

The loss of property, and the severe damage to a very large area of the state has had a major impact on Victorian communities, particularly the north eastern and Gippsland communities within and close to the Alpine region.

Bushfires are continuing to burn in eastern Victoria stretching from Mt Buffalo to the NSW border and to the Tubbut area of East Gippsland. A number of communities will continue to face the possibility of dangerous conditions in the days and weeks ahead. Along with all Australians I hope that the remaining fires can be controlled and extinguished.

The tireless efforts of the firefighters, police, emergency services, and especially the many volunteers who have defended threatened communities over recent weeks, have been outstanding.

Considering the dangerous conditions, and the ferocity and extreme size of the fires, it is a tribute to the commitment of everyone involved that lives have not been lost, and that many homes and community buildings have been saved. The efforts made to defend communities and to help those in danger have been a great example of how Australians pull together and help each other out in times of adversity.

In addition to contributing to the appeal, the Commonwealth will, under the existing Natural Disaster Relief Arrangements (NDRA), meet 50% of the cost of personal hardship and distress payments made to people by the Victorian Government. These payments cover the provision of emergency food, clothing and accommodation or to make essential housing repairs or replace essential household goods.

The Commonwealth will also, if agreed cost thresholds are reached, meet 50% and then 75% of the costs to the Victorian Government of providing concessional interest rate loans and grants, replacing essential public assets and providing counselling services.

I would encourage all Australians to support the Victorian Bushfire Recovery Appeal. Contributions to the fund will be tax deductible, and can be made by phoning 1800 890 390.

Transcript 20574