SYDNEY, Jan 15, 2020, AAP. Charities will get more government funding to hand out food vouchers, financial counselling and help with basics in bushfire-affected communities. The federal government announced $40 million would go to charities the Salvation Army and St Vincent de Paul, with $10 million for the National Debt Hotline, 9News reported.
“For many people right now it’s the basics that count,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said today.
The charities would be responsible for divvying out the vouchers as well as helping those impacted by the fires to pay for bills, petrol, clothing and transport costs.
Federal government funding aims to help bushfire-hit communities recover after the devastating blazes.
The increased funding for the debt hotline would go to getting locals into bushfire-affected areas to provide face-to-face financial counselling.
Social Services Minister Anne Ruston said this was about making sure people knew what government-funded financial assistance they were eligible for.
“Many of the affected Australians have never relied on government services,” Senator Ruston said.
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Impacted people were also told by the government to consider loans from Good Shepherd Microfinance to help with recovery costs as alternatives to other lenders.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison is seeking to get the best advice from experts on a range of topics to inform the government’s bushfire response.
Science Minister Karen Andrews will meet in Canberra with representatives from the CSIRO, the Academy of Science and bushfire researchers to discuss ways to address bushfires through science and technology.
Education Minister Dan Tehan will meet with education sector representatives to hear first-hand how the bushfires have impacted and how the government can help.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg will hear from financial counsellors on the needs of farmers, business owners and families and what more needs to be done to respond.