The Australian and Queensland Governments today announced a $14 million recovery package to support the mental health and resilience of communities impacted by the Southern and Eastern Queensland Bushfires last year.
Minister for Natural Disaster and Emergency Management David Littleproud said the Community Recovery Package would be provided through the jointly funded Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA).
“This latest extraordinary assistance funding will provide urgent support to address community needs including mental health and wellbeing,” Mr Littleproud said.
“Queensland communities were severely affected by catastrophic bushfires between September and December last year, having a devastating impact on homes, businesses and the environment.
“The physical damage of the bushfires has taken a heavy emotional toll on individuals, families and the wider community, and we need to ensure the mental health needs of our people are supported.
“This Phase 2 package includes $4.7 million to address the risk to the mental health and wellbeing of communities doing it tough and $3 million to employ Community Development Officers.
“In addition, $6 million has been allocated for a flexible grants program for non-government organisations, communities groups and local governments to support locally-led recovery and resilience building activities.”
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the funding was in addition to a $6 million Phase 1 package announced in December to support tourism and regional economies.
“The bushfires have impacted many regions already experiencing the devastating effects of drought, compounding the social, economic and environmental stressors already present in these communities,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“Notably, this Phase 2 package includes a Community Mental Health Program to provide specialist mental health support and emotional wellbeing for individuals, families, volunteers and communities impacted by the bushfire events.
“Community Development Officers will work across the local government areas of Livingstone, Lockyer Valley, Noosa, Scenic Rim, Somerset and Southern Downs to address recovery needs and develop community-led action plans.
“This exceptional circumstances package is about supporting community-led recovery through a collaborative response from all levels of government to build stronger, more resilient communities,” she said.
The Phase 2 Community Recovery Package will support recovery for communities in the local government areas impacted by the Southern Queensland Bushfires, 6-12 September 2019 and the Eastern Queensland Bushfires, 8 November to 19 December 2019.