Many rural and regional areas of Australia are currently experiencing bushfires. Our hearts are heavy for Australian communities and ecosystems devastated by the bushfires, and united in support of these communities.
Many in our Monash community have been affected by these ongoing bushfires – as residents, holidaymakers, evacuees, or having family members in these fire-stricken areas.
We also have a number of staff and students who are volunteering with the CFA and other emergency services at this time. The safety of the Monash community is our priority, and there are a number of ways we’re supporting our staff and students.
Firefighting and emergency assistance leave
Monash University offers paid firefighting and emergency assistance leave for staff of the CFA and other emergency services who are required to undertake firefighting and related activities. This includes CFA, SES, Australian Defence Force reservists and other emergency-related groups.
Monash grants five days’ special paid leave for staff who reside in areas impacted by the current bushfires, and who are unable to attend work so they can support themselves and their families in dealing with the bushfire threat.
Counselling for staff and students
Monash provides free confidential counselling for staff and students affected by the fires. Students can access counselling services here, and for all staff the Employee Assistance Program is available 24/7.
While our metropolitan campuses aren’t directly impacted by the fires, we’re closely monitoring the conditions to ensure we’re providing a safe environment for our staff and students, and recognise that the bushfires will affect rural regions for some time to come. At this stage, all University activities will continue as usual, and our Chief Medical Officer, Dr Vicki Ashton, continues to liaise with the EPA,
VicHealth and the Australian Chief Medical Officer to advise appropriate precautions as required. If there are any impacts, this will be communicated through official University channels to all our stakeholders. If you experience breathing difficulties or other symptoms related to the smoky conditions, please seek medical advice.
If you wish to make a financial contribution to bushfire relief, there are many community organisations offering ways to do this. Additionally, the Victorian government has established the Victorian Bushfire Appeal.