Australians will gain access to $50 million in rapid assistance to recover from the bushfire crisis in a Morrison Government move to inject funds into the St Vincent de Paul Society and Salvation Army. Source: Sydney Morning Herald.
By David Crowe, Sydney Morning Herald
The two major charities will receive cash within days so they can help people pay for clothing, petrol, bus tickets, electricity and other household expenses.
The program is to be announced today as another part of the Government’s $2 billion recovery fund and will also include financial counselling to prevent those in need falling into debt.
Cash payments will be made “when necessary” to cover emergency costs for those directly affected by fires, including those who live and work in affected areas.
The help could also be used to offer food vouchers, an idea that is seen by some as a way to put money back into retailers in communities hit by fire.
Mr Morrison described the package as a way to stimulate local economies. More bushfire funding is due to be announced following the meeting of the national security committee of cabinet.
“For many people right now it’s the basics that count. We need to make sure everyone has food on the table and clothes on their backs,” he said in a statement.
“We are hoping this extra support will assist tens of thousands of people affected by bushfires to get through the coming days and weeks.”
The Government is aiming to “direct” charities to join forces with local employers so the money helps the local economy as well as those in need.
Small business advocates are worried that large donations of food and clothing may weaken demand at local shops in regions hit by fire, making vouchers a better way to help.
Mr Morrison and Victorian premier Daniel Andrews have emphasised in recent days that Australians should donate cash rather than food and clothing.
The two main charities offering the new help are expected to start receiving $40 million in additional federal cash on Friday but can offer assistance to people under the program from today.
Major charities receive $50m injection to help bushfire victims and local economies (Sydney Morning Herald)