We use this page to keep you updated on how we are using money donated to the Disaster Relief and Recovery fund to help people affected by the bushfires.
Every day, people write in and tell us how bushfire grants are helping them. For some, it’s replacing precious or valuable things that were lost. For others, it’s finding a safe place to live or making urgent repairs to their homes. But what we hear most often is that they feel like people remember and care about them.
With COVID-19 restrictions easing, we’re back on the ground in bushfire-affected communities, looking for people who have not yet applied for a grant and helping them to apply. We’re also attending community meetings and assessing unmet needs that we can help with.
We are grateful for the many thousands of donors worldwide, who made that possible.
Our voluntary advisory panel meets regularly to help us make decisions on the use of funds to support Australians affected by the bushfires.
Here is our full plan and progress update. We update it regularly.
$5 million has provided on-the-ground disaster services for this financial year.
This enabled Red Cross emergency teams to help an estimated 50,000 Australians during disasters in FY19/20. It included our work in evacuation and recovery centres, outreach services, deploying our volunteers and ensuring their training and wellbeing.
$175 million is helping people in financial hardship.
Thousands of Australians have received grants so far. But not everyone who is entitled to a grant has come forward. We continue to encourage people to apply and have increased our community outreach.
This amount includes:
• $56 million is supporting people whose homes were destroyed
A total of $20,000 per household. We have increased the allocation for this grant because we are seeing more people come forward. Further support is available through the re-establishment grant (see below).
• $20 million to help homeowners make urgent repairs
Many people’s primary place of residence is still standing, but may require structural repairs to make it safe to live in. We have increased this grant to $10,000 per household to help with repairs to things like ceilings, floors, private generators, water tanks and septic systems.
• $1.5 million for bereavement payments
We have provided a bereavement payment to the identified senior next of kin of people who have died in the fires. All eligible senior next-of-kin who have requested the payment have received it.
• $8.5 million to support people who were hospitalised for injuries as a result of the fires
This is a grant of $7,500 or $15,000 for people who spent two or more days in hospital as the result of physical injuries or mental health issues caused by the fires. It will help with out-of-pocket expenses.
• $2 million is supporting people who face other financial hardship.
This includes people identified and referred to us by other services.
Funds are also supporting people in the mid-to-long term, as they re-establish their homes.
$87 million is helping people re-establish a safe home.
A re-establishment grant is providing further support to people who lost their primary place of residence in the fires. Formerly called the rebuild grant, it is now open to owner occupiers, people who were renting homes that were destroyed, and people who were living in non-permanent structures such as caravans, or mobile homes that were destroyed in the fires.
$21.7 million will be used for further immediate and longer-term bushfire assistance.
This enables us to provide further assistance as needs arise – whether that’s increasing existing grants due to demand, or introducing new financial or other forms of support.
$18 million is enabling a tailored, minimum three-year community recovery program.
Our experience from a century of disaster responses, including the Black Saturday Fires of 2009, is that recovery takes time and community recovery is critical.
The right support can go a long way. That includes having someone to talk to, trauma counselling and mental health support, good social networks, access to good information and services, and a connection to community.
Our recovery program will address these things in ways that are unique to each community. It will run for three years or more. It will be informed by needs assessments, be done in coordination with communities, government and service providers, and be implemented by dedicated key staff and volunteers.
We will keep you informed of our plans and spending.
We meet the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission’s high standards for accountability and reporting. Most importantly, we want to make a genuine difference to the recovery of those impacted by the bushfires, and we want those who gave so generously to see the impact of their donation.