A burnt sign past Netherdale on Mackay Eungella Road shows the intensity of the fires which ripped through the area.
A burnt sign past Netherdale on Mackay Eungella Road shows the intensity of the fires which ripped through the area. Zizi Averill

More help at hand for communities ravaged by bushfires

TARGETED mental health support will be rolled out to communities affected by devastating bushfires which scorched north and central Queensland in recent weeks.

The support comes as Queensland Emergency Services Minister Craig Crawford and Assistant Minister for Home Affairs Linda Reynolds announced additional disaster assistance for communities affected by the fires in November and December.

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

Assistant Minister Reynolds, who has responsibility for Commonwealth disaster assistance, said a Category C Community Recovery Package was being made available to provide further support for community recovery.

"The bushfires have had a devastating impact on the lives of many Queenslanders and today's announcement will go some way to ensuring the social fabric of our communities is restored," Assistant Minister Reynolds said.

"The Category C Package also includes funding to build community resilience through a range of information and education initiatives to help people understand how they can better prepare for and respond to bushfire events.

"The Commonwealth and Queensland governments will continue to work together to ensure affected communities receive the support and assistance they need to recover during this difficult time."

Mr Crawford said many communities, particularly those directly affected by bushfires, had been left traumatised and in need of additional mental health support.

"Targeted specialist mental health support, including access to specialists, mental health awareness programs and clinical interventions for children and young people, will be rolled out across affected communities to help people who are suffering," he said.

"The Package will also support the longer-term recovery effort through the engagement of Community Development Officers to work with affected communities and identify how best to support the recovery effort going forward.

"Other recovery initiatives under the package include community led recovery and resilience grants and funding clean-up and reinstatement activities.

"Further information on these programs will be released shortly."

Information on disaster assistance can be found on the Australian Government's Disaster Assist website and the Queensland Government's Disaster management website.