Saturday, 04 May 2024
Media release

Health and wellbeing priority for bushfire-impacted Queensland communities

​​Joint media release with the Hon Nikki Boyd MP​​​

Community wellbeing and mental health support is front and centre in the second phase of extraordinary disaster recovery assistance for Queensland communities severely impacted by the Southern Queensland bushfires during the spring of 2023.

The Albanese and Miles Governments will jointly fund more than $12 million to support the mid-to-long-term recovery and resilience needs of affected communities.

The initiatives under this package will be targeted amongst the 9 Local Government Areas of Bundaberg, Central Highlands, Gladstone, Maranoa, North Burnett, South Burnett, Southern Downs, Toowoomba and Western Downs based on community needs.

The assistance, provided under Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA) includes:

  • $6.24 million Community Health and Wellbeing Package
  • $2.2 million Mental Health Package
  • $1.87 million Agricultural Industry Recovery and Resilience Officers
  • $1.5 million Rural Landholders Recovery Grants Program

This new funding comes on top of a range of other jointly funded support already announced for communities hit by last year’s Southern Queensland bushfires, including almost $660,000 in Personal Hardship Assistance, and $5 million of grants for primary producers in southern Queensland.

Quotes attributable to Federal Minister for Emergency Management Murray Watt:
“The sheer scale and severity of these bushfires has called for additional levels of support as recovery efforts continue.”
“When the fires hit, some communities were still recovering from earlier fires, which put support services under great strain.
“This new exceptional circumstances funding focuses on needs that address economic, human and social issues to both stimulate recovery and build resilience.
“We’ll continue to work with the Miles Government to ensure appropriate support is hitting the ground where it’s needed.”

Quotes attributable to minister responsible for the Queensland Reconstruction Authority Nikki Boyd:
“Queensland Reconstruction Authority officers have worked closely with councils, state agencies and the federal government to fully understand the extent of damage and develop appropriate recovery packages."
“We know the toll these fires took on communities in southern Queensland, and ensuring they have the tailored support they need is paramount.
“I also remind any Queenslander affected by a disaster that our Community Recovery Hotline is available 24/7. If you need to talk to us, please call 1800 173 349.​

Breakdown of disaster support package:

Community Health and Wellbeing package – $6.24 million

  • $2.34 million towards community recovery and resilience officers to engage, support and promote recovery and resilience planning and activities at a local level.
  • $2.25 million for up to five full-time equivalent community recovery connect workers within Neighbourhood Centres to partner with special interest and community groups in assisting vulnerable residents.
  • $1.2 million will fund community recovery grant coordinators to help impacted individuals navigate available services.
  • $450,000 in Flexible Funding Grants available across all LGAs to be used for the development of emergency, disaster preparedness and business continuity plans, including for community organisations and Neighbourhood Centres.

Mental Health Program – $2.2 million

  • Funding for Queensland Health to provide individual and family therapeutic care and interventions for people impacted by the fires, with a focus on longer term support services and strengthening existing mental health support programs.

Agricultural Industry Recovery and Resilience Officers – $1.87 million

  • Targeted, specialised resilience officers who will work with industry, local governments and impacted producers to support regionally coordinated recovery approaches to disaster risk reduction for future disaster events.

Rural Landholders Recovery Grants Program – $1.5 million

  • Assisting rural landholders in agricultural communities with the extraordinary expenditure associated with disaster clean-up and the reinstatement of eligible rural residential and lifestyle properties.

Further information on DRFA exceptional circumstances assistance can be found at www.qra.qld.gov.au.