Date: 21 January 2020
Gippsland and East Gippsland Aboriginal Co-operative (GEGAC) and Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency (VACCA) are standing with bushfire affected communities and will provide dedicated support to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people impacted by bushfires in Gippsland and North East Victoria as part of the State Government’s new Victorian Bushfires Case Support Program.
Announced by Premier Daniel Andrews and Bushfire Recovery Victoria Chair Ken Lay, the $14.4 million program will provide immediate support to the broader community affected by the bushfires in Gippsland and North East Victoria.
As a result of the devastating bushfire events which has seen the large-scale displacement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in Victoria, VACCA will have eight dedicated caseworkers working directly with community across the state over the next twelve months.
VACCA CEO Muriel Bamblett said “VACCA and GEGAC are committed to supporting our community members on the road to recovery and as part of the new State Government Bushfires Case Support Program.”
“Our dedicated case workers will support affected Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members across the state – and to ensure our ability to provide suitable support, we will work closely with Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations and health services.” adds Muriel
GEGAC CEO Jamie Williamson said “With the fire season far from over and the full impacts of recent events difficult to understand at this point in time – the safety and wellbeing of our community is a high priority, and providing support is a matter of urgency.”
“Our thoughts are with those who have been directly affected by the fires and the broader community, and we extend our condolences to the families who have lost loved ones in the fires.” adds Jamie
The caseworkers will help link community members with vital support such as information and advice, mental health support and financial counselling.
They will also help with practical matters such as filling out paperwork, accessing grants and financial claims, and navigating services available through local council, state and commonwealth governments.
The program is funded by the Victorian Government in partnership with Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements and will be supported by Bushfire Recovery Victoria to help communities recover and rebuild.
Affected Victorians can access a support coordinator by contacting their local council, visiting a recovery centre or calling 1800 560 760.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members who are impacted by the fires and require support:
- based in Gippsland, contact GEGAC: firstname.lastname@example.org
- outside of Gippsland: submit a request for support here or call 03 9742 8399
If you have any other queries, contact VACCA via email@example.com
Information about recovery centre locations and opening hours can be found at emergency.vic.gov.au.
Image credit: Sascha Grant via flickr