Sunday, April 10, 2011

Australian government allocates $36 million for Queenslanders affected by natural disasters

From 9 News in Australia:

A $39 million mental health package is being rolled out to help Queenslanders recover from a series of natural disasters.

Queensland premier and minister for reconstruction Anna Bligh says Easter will be a particularly hard time for some disaster victims, and the joint state and federal program should bring some relief.

Under the package, $10 million will be spent on mental health services and grants to non-government organisations like Lifeline to deliver personal, family and group counselling as well as respite.

Around $20 million over two years will be spent on a community recovery program, including employing community development officers on the ground to plan and involve the community.

As part of the community recovery program, local governments and non-government organisations will share $9.6 million for community events and memorials.

Another $5.8 million will pay for financial counsellors "so financial pressure doesn't become financial crisis".

Non-government organisations will also receive $2 million to help deliver crisis accommodation and respite care for people with disabilities, to allow families to focus on recovering from the natural disasters.

"We need to remember that bricks and mortar are only part of the equation, Ms Bligh told parliament.

"Right at the heart of our recovery and rebuilding effort is people and .. it is people that will put us back on our feet and we need to be supporting them in the process.

"This funding package will be able to offer on-the-ground support to around 5500 people, including carers and families of people with a mental illness, to help them come to terms with and recover from the disasters."

Meanwhile, prominent businessman Lindsay Fox has arranged a dinner and auction on Friday to raise money for flood victims.

Luxury cars and a truck will be auctioned off at the event, as well as business-class tickets to London, New York and Phuket.

All proceeds will go to the Premier's Disaster Relief Appeal.