The Brumby Labor Government will increase the supports for older Victorians and those with a disability living in fire-affected communities to help them prepare for summer, Community Services Minister Lisa Neville said today.
“We are taking action to ensure some of our most vulnerable residents are as fire-safe and fire-ready as possible,” Ms Neville said.
“That is why we are providing $1 million in new grants for Home and Community Care (HACC) assessment services across Victoria to help develop emergency plans and prepare for heatwaves.”
Ms Neville, who made the announcement during Fire Action Week, said the funding would specifically target elderly and disabled clients who were at risk of being socially isolated, and who couldn’t develop plans independently.
“HACC assessment services, delivered through local councils, will work with identified vulnerable Victorians and people with a disability in fire-risk areas to develop fire plans and to prepare for extreme weather events such as heatwaves,” she said.
“This support is particularly important for people living alone, without nearby neighbours or family.”
More than 260,000 Victorians receive services funded by the HACC Program such as domestic help, nursing, allied health such as physio and podiatry, delivered meals, social support and personal care.
Ms Neville said HACC services provided the practical assistance that many older Victorians and people with disabilities needed to complete everyday tasks and retain their independence.
“These latest grants are a further boost to ensure HACC clients and people with a disability living in high fire danger areas are fire ready,” she said.
“There are many excellent resources available to help prepare emergency plans such as the CFA Fire Ready Kit and the Red Cross RediPlan for frail older people.
“We are committed to ensuring frail, older, isolated Victorians and people with disabilities can easily access these resources and receive one-on-one help to prepare for the threat of bushfires.
“It is vital for all Victorians to identify risk and plan for what they will do in an emergency or during a heatwave.”
The Brumby Labor Government introduced the first dedicated Fire Action Week last year following the tragic February 2009 bushfires.
Ms Neville said the week was dedicated to preparing homes and communities for the fire season.