DHS assistance available

Latrobe Valley residents need more information about emergency relief grants made available immediately, the State Opposition has said during a visit to the fire-affected town of Morwell.

Opposition spokesperson for community services Jenny Mikakos said the Department of Human Services grants of a few hundred dollars did not compare to the emergency relief funding available in the wake of previous disasters.

“It’s very clear that the grant is not going to go very far,” Ms Mikakos said.

“Well the government needs to make it clear, if there is emergency relief grants available what the grants are, who is eligible for them and how they go about applying for them.”

Ms Mikakos said the government was “leaving the community to fend for themselves” and called for a better coordinated response to the issue.

DHS spokesman Geoff Russell said personal hardship respite payments of varying amounts were available to Morwell residents only.

Mr Russell said the grant amounts depended on the individual, and their need would be assessed by DHS during individual appointments.

He stressed the department was not trying to hide the information, but did not want to cause alarm and urged residents who could seek respite without assistance to do so.

? For more information visit

www.recovery.vic.gov.au or phone 1800 006 468 to book an appointment.