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Another $50m for bushfire help

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced an additional $50 million to help people and businesses devastated by the country’s bushfire crisis.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced an additional $50 million to help people and businesses devastated by the country's bushfire crisis.

Mr Morrison said he is increasing the areas who can apply for disaster recovery payments and affected families with children will also now get $800 per child, rather than $400.

The Prime Minister said he is also simplifying payments for RFS volunteers, who can claim up to $300 a day for income loss.

People who may not have lost their home but have lost assets worth $20,000 such as vehicles, sheds or fencing will also be able to claim.

Farmers in another 12 local government areas in Victoria and another five in South Australia will be able to claim the disaster recovery payments of $75,000 announced yesterday.

In Victoria, the areas include Alpine, Ballarat, East Gippsland, Glenelg, Golden Plains, Indigo, Mansfield, Wellington, Wodonga Northern Grampians, Pyrenees, and Southern Grampians.

South Australian farmers in Mount Barker, Murray Bridge, Mid Murray, Yorke Peninsula and Kingston will now also be able to claim.

"Grants have been extended to farmers in all those areas for those eligible to help the community recover from the bushfires and we are working on assistance with small business," Mr Morrison said.

Another $40m of government cash will go to St Vincent De Paul's society and the Salvation Army to help people living and working in bushfire affected areas.

An extra $10m will go towards financial counselling.

"Right now it is all about focusing on the basics people need right now," Mr Morrison said.

Minister for Families and Social Services, Anne Ruston, said the cash will help people in more practical ways.

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"With emergency relief payments, the difference between existing emergency relief criteria and the new $40 million payment is people will be able to access a wider range of things with these payments," she said.

"In the past they have been largely restricted to vouchers or things

like food and fuel, but what we'll be seeking to do is allow these experts on the ground, these charities there everyday, to determine the needs of individuals."

A new $86m help package has also been announced for Victoria, in conjunction with the state government.

It will include mental health support and community recovery hubs which the prime minister described as "one stop shops" which could go to remote areas.

It will also pay for things like repairing damaged water assets.

Mr Morrison explained that while adults can claim $1000, the payout for children has been doubled to $800.

Anybody who has already claimed will automatically get the extra cash.

Meanwhile, RFS volunteers will find it easier to claim payments, the prime minister said.

They're entitled to up to $300 a day for lost income, if they've volunteered for 10 days, and now won't need the paperwork proof.

That includes farmers and those working for small or medium sized businesses.

"What we have agreed to do is to speed this process up," Mr Morrison said.

"There will be no substantiation requirement for payments of up to $200 per day.

"That should speed this up considerably and I think will be a good shot in the arm for those primary producers and farmers."

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He added people who didn't lose their house in fires but lost assets worth $20,000 will be able to claim a disaster recovery payment.

"That could be fencing, it could be vehicles, it could be sheds, it could be water pumps, things of that nature," Mr Morrison said.

Source: 9News

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