Bushfire Crisis – Update

Given the ongoing nature of the bushfires and the impact on many regions, DVA is providing a further update for ESOs.

We recognise that the recent bushfires have had a devastating impact on local communities, but it is important that the ongoing support to veterans’ organisations and the community continues.

A new grant round of the Building Excellence in Support and Training (BEST) program has opened for applications today and closes at 11:00 pm (AEDT) on 17 February 2020.

If your organisation has been impacted by these bushfires, and you think it may affect you in lodging your application for a BEST grant, please contact the Community Grants Hub as soon as possible on 1800 020 283 or support@communitygrants.gov.au for help with your application.

The priority for many authorities and communities is of course the ongoing fire-fighting, containment and recovery operations, and a reminder from my email last week that DVA will continue to provide services and assistance to members of the veteran and defence communities.

Health and Financial support

If you or members of your organisation need further support from DVA during this difficult time, please visit the DVA website (dva.gov.au) for information on the disaster assistance services offered. The Open Arms counselling service is also available 24/7 to veterans and their families (contact 1800 011 046).

DVA services and support

Veterans and their families can access DVA’s Veterans’ Access Network (VAN) for assistance on 1800 555 254 for a wide range of issues, including replacement of aids and appliances, ensuring availability of pharmaceuticals, and arranging transportation to medical appointments.

If any other services or support you receive from the Department are impacted by the fires, or if you need extra support in requesting these services, you can call 1800 555 254 for assistance.

Veterans’ Home Care

Veterans’ Home Care (VHC) program clients affected by fires should contact their service providers or assessment agency to re-establish disrupted services.  Eligible, affected veterans who need new services or services in a new location should contact their assessment agency.  VHC Assessment Agencies may be contacted on 1300 550 450.

Defence Service Homes Insurance Scheme (DSHI)

With ongoing bushfires across the country DSHI is committed to assisting our policyholders. In an emergency dial 000. Always follow the advice and direction of emergency services. If you need to make a claim due to bushfire damage, please contact us as soon as you’re safe and able to do so. Our team will be able to help you manage your claim. Your safety is of the utmost importance to us, if you are impacted please contact us on 1300 552 662.

National Bushfire Recovery Agency

The Prime Minister has announced the establishment a new agency with an initial $2 billion for a national bushfire recovery fund to coordinate a national response to rebuild communities and livelihoods after the devastating fire-front has passed. More information can be found at: www.pm.gov.au/media/national-bushfire-recovery-agency

Mark Cormack

Acting Secretary

7 January 2020

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