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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 6028

BUSHFIRES - COMMONWEALTH ASSISTANCE TO VICTORIA AND SOUTH AUSTRALIA

Photo of Fraser, Malcolm

Fraser, Malcolm

Period of Service: 11/11/1975 to 11/03/1983

More information about Fraser, Malcolm on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 18/02/1983

Release Type: Media Release

Transcript ID: 6028

FOR MEDIA FRIDAY, 3.8 FEBRUARY 1983
BUSHFIRES COMMONW1EALTH ASSISTANCE TO
VICTORIA AND SOUTH AUSTRALIA
The disastrous bushfires, in Victoria and South Australia have
been on an immense scale. The tragedy has affected all
Australians. I have, over the last two days, by visiting
affected areas., seen the stark evidence of loss and
suffering. I have informed the Premiers of both States that the Commonwealth
stands ready to give urgent and sympathetic consideration to
measures they may wish to propose to restore and rebuild
communities. officials of the three Governments ar-e in
constant liaison to identify needs and develop measures for
meeting these needs.
These measures would be in addition to the standing natural
disaster relief arrangements under which the Commonwealth is
providing assistance to alleviate immediate hardship through
the resources of the Defence Force and other Co" mmonwealth
agencies. I announced yesterday " seeding" contributions to emergency
relief funds in Victoria ($ 400,000) and South Australia
($ 200,000) to help in floating these public appeals.
Much more will, of course, be needed and will be provided
by the Commonwealth once the total damage has been assessed.
This will take some days and is likely to run into tens of
millions of dollars.
I have now proposed to the Premiers of Victoria and South
Australia initial instalments of that Commonwealth assistance
in azv-zce of settling final details. In the case of Victoria
the Commonwealth will immediately advance $ 10 million, and
$ 6 million will be provided to South Australia against
Commonwealth contributions under the Natural Disasters
Relief Arrangements ( NDRA).
The Commnonwealth is also prepared to extend categories of
# ssistance beyond the core measures under NDRA ( set out in the
attachment) to meet the following:
low-interest loans of up to $ 50,000 to primary
producers and small business;
concessional loans of up to $ 22,000 to owner-occupiers
to meet the difference between insurance recoveries
and the cost of replacing their principal residence;

* assistance with freight costs of stock and fodder,
including cost of transport of saleable stock to local
abattoirs, arnd also the cost of disposal of dead stock;
* up to $ 1,200 per kilometre for materials for boundary
fencing abutting roads, railways, water frontages, game
reserves, Forestry Commission and unalienated Crown
land;
* concessional loans for re-establishment of facilities
such as recreation camps.
These programs will be administered by the States. The
Commonwealth reimburses the States oni a 3: 1 basis for their
expenditures on NDRA measures. ATTACHMENT
NATURAL DISASTER RELIEF ARRANGFEMENTS -CORE MEASURES APPLICABLE
TO BUSHFIRES
Grants for relief of personal hardship and distress ( on
a 1: 1 basis where such expenditures do not qualify for
3: 1 assistance);
* grants for restoration of Public assets and emergency
protection and repair works by State, local and semigovernment
authorities;
* concessional loans to primary producers for carry-on,
restocking and restoration purposes;
* freight subsidies for primary producers;
* assistance-to State, local and semi-government authorities
for the disposal of helpless and unsaleable stock.

Transcript 6028