THE Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund (GERF) has so far raised $130,000 in its current appeal to assist those impacted by the recent flood and storm event.

Donations have been received from many generous Gippsland families, small and large businesses and from individuals who in the past have been recipients of GERF support.

GERF president Andy Tegart thanked those who had donated to the fund so far. He was also pleased to say the fund had received significant donations from RACV Gippsland Solar, Latrobe Health Services, Loy Yang B and Aussie Broadband.

“These Gippsland companies are generously supporting Gippslanders in their time of need and we are very grateful for them donating to this very important appeal.

“We’d like to encourage other Gippsland businesses to throw their support behind GERF to ensure we are able to meet the emergency financial needs of those affected.”

The fund has so far distributed $100,500 to eligible residents from Jumbuk, Jeeralang Junction, Yinnar, Yinnar South, Boolarra, Boolarra South, Budgeree, Hazelwood South, Turtons Creek, Gifford West, Sale, Denison, Willung South and Traralgon.

Donations can be made via direct transfer – BSB 083 932 A/c No. 740196862, PayPal at gerf.org.au, or at any NAB branch across Australia. All donations over $2 are tax-deductible.

The Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund was established in 1978 as a not-for-profit charity operated by volunteers for Gippsland communities affected by natural disaster events. All donations received are distributed to Gippsland residents affected by natural disaster.

Federal assistance on offer

The federal government has activated the Australian government Disaster Recovery Payment (AGDRP) and Disaster Recovery Allowance (DRA) to support those most impacted by the storms and flooding in Victoria.

People in the Hepburn, Latrobe, Moorabool and Yarra Ranges local government areas can now access the support package.

Minister for Emergency Management David Littleproud said the package provided payments to those who had suffered a significant loss due to the storms and floods.

“The AGDRP is a one-off payment of $1000 for eligible adults and $400 for children who have suffered significant loss, including a severely damaged or destroyed home,” Minister Littleproud said.

“The DRA provides up to 13 weeks of income support to people whose income has been affected because of this awful event.”

More information on disaster assistance at disasterassist.gov.au.

Disaster payments for businesses

Disaster assistance will be available for businesses that continue to be affected by prolonged power outages from the extreme weather event in Victoria.

Assistance is being provided through the jointly-funded Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA).

Businesses with an annual payroll of less than $10 million can apply for payments for up to three weeks if they were without power as of 12.01am Thursday, June 17. If eligible, they will then receive the payment each week, capped at three weeks.

The payment will be administered by AusNet and will help businesses cover the costs of rent, wages and other operating expenses.

No power? Receive $1680

To assist people impacted by energy outages, a Prolonged Power Outage Payment of $1680 per week for up to three weeks will be extended to all eligible households without power as of last Thursday, June 17.

The payment, to be administered by AusNet, will help families buy the basics, find alternative accommodation and get through this difficult period, the state government said.

Assistance is being provided through the jointly funded Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA).

The funding is on top of the Emergency Re-establishment Payments announced earlier this month, worth up to $42,250 for households, for people whose homes are uninhabitable or inaccessible for more than seven days.

The government is also in discussions with AusNet about payments owed to their customers who experienced outages.

Generators for those without power

Generators will be distributed to Victorian households expected to be without power the longest as a result of the devastating storms that have caused widespread damage and flooding in Victoria’s east.

Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio on Saturday announced the arrival of 200 generators, which will be distributed to those most in need in storm-affected areas.

“Distribution of the eight-kilowatt generators will begin immediately. Eligible households will be directed to contact local family and community service organisation Windemere, who will assess need and prioritise distribution to ensure the generators go to those who need them most,” the government said.

“The generators will give people who want to stay at home enough energy to power the basics like some lights, a microwave and a small heater.”

And finally, the Australian Defence Force (ADF) will help storm and flood-affected Victorian communities with clean up and recovery efforts.