Sup­port for 2009 bush­fire com­mem­o­ra­tions

Ovens & Murray Advertiser - - NEWS -

THE Vic­to­rian Gov­ern­ment will give com­mu­ni­ties a chance to com­mem­o­rate 10 years since the Black Satur­day Bush­fires in their own way, with fund­ing to be pro­vided for an­niver­sary ac­tiv­i­ties.

The cat­a­strophic 2009 bush­fires dev­as­tated the state, with 173 peo­ple los­ing their lives in the tragedy in­clud­ing Mudge­gonga hus­band and wife John and Sue Wil­son.

Many more were in­jured and lost their homes, with the mem­o­ries of the events still im­pact­ing com­mu­ni­ties to this day.

On Mon­day, the La­bor Gov­ern­ment an­nounced $ 4.4 mil­lion in fund­ing to sup­port an­niver­sary ac­tiv­i­ties in com­mu­ni­ties af­fected by the 2009 Vic­to­rian bush­fires.

The fund­ing will sup­port a state memo­rial ser­vice and a grants pro­gram for lo­cal com­mu­nity com­mem­o­ra­tion and cre­ative arts projects.

A range of men­tal health and psy­cho­log­i­cal ser­vices and sup­ports through­out the com­mem­o­ra­tion pe­riod will also be pro­vided.

As part of the com­mem­o­ra­tions, bush­fire- af­fected com­mu­ni­ties will be able to col­lab­o­rate and sup­port each other in re­mem­ber­ing the vic­tims of the disas­ter.

It will also be an op­por­tu­nity to ac­knowl­edge the first re­spon­ders who bravely served their com­mu­nity dur­ing the catas­tro­phe.

Gov­er­nor of Vic­to­ria, the Honourable Linda Des­sau AC, has been ap­pointed as the Pa­tron for the state’s com­mem­o­ra­tions of the an­niver­sary.

As Pa­tron, the Gov­er­nor will visit bush­fire af­fected com­mu­ni­ties to hear about their chal­lenges and help cel­e­brate their achieve­ments in re­cov­ery.

The Gov­ern­ment has made ad­di­tional re­sources avail­able for sup­port ser­vices through­out the an­niver­sary pe­riod, in­clud­ing for schools and emer­gency per­son­nel.

Min­is­ter for Emer­gency Ser­vices James Mer­lino said re­mem­brance events are a way to hon­our those who died, thank the peo­ple who pre­vented fur­ther loss and de­struc­tion.

“We look for­ward to work­ing closely with bush­fire- af­fected com­mu­ni­ties and lo­cal gov­ern­ment over the next six months to en­sure the com­mem­o­ra­tion of this time re­flects the com­mu­nity’s wishes,” he said.

More in­for­ma­tion about the 10 year an­niver­sary in­clud­ing grants pro­grams, and de­tails of the State Memo­rial Ser­vice can be found at vic. gov. au/ 2009bush­fires.

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