Bushfire support

There are few places in the developed world that have faced the kind of back-to-back disasters that Australia has over the past six months.
Summer’s bushfires made headlines around the country and the world as some of most devastating and widespread the country had seen in decades.
But as the coronavirus pandemic unfolded across the globe, the nation’s focus shifted, leaving people who were still struggling with the fire’s life-changing impact feeling forgotten.
In many cases that feeling was exacerbated by difficulty accessing Government support, with many fire victims still struggling to comprehend what is available to them and how to access it, all the while feeling the economic heat of the coronavirus and watching the taxpayer bill for the pandemic soar to unheard of heights.
The Government has a responsibility to administer taxpayer funds appropriately, with priority given to those most in need.
A natural consequence of that is that checks and balances must be done and the reality is that they are not always straightforward.
But with businesses now facing the added devastation of coronavirus, timely support and straightforward access to grants could be the difference between survival and closure.
Simple, easy to access relief is paramount and business owners and fire victims must be able to have the confidence that the support promised will be provided … when it’s needed most.
It’s imperative that all levels of Government work together to find the most straightforward, user-friendly way to distribute funds to bushfire victims in a timely way.
All governments have their hands well and truly full at the moment dealing with the coronavirus.
But getting the bushfire response right is not only vital for the recovery of our communities, but could also act as a template for future disasters, placing our country in much better stead to respond when the inevitable occurs.
Bushfires and other natural disasters are a devastating but unavoidable part of Australian life and the better equipped we are to deal with them, and the quicker that response is in the aftermath, the stronger we’ll be as a nation.

For the full report, see the print issue of The Courier.