March 3, 2022

Haines calls for bushfire funding mistake to be fixed

Independent Federal Member for Indi Helen Haines has called on Minister for Emergency Services Bridget McKenzie to reverse an administrative mistake that denied bushfire recovery funding to the bushfire-hit community of Tintaldra.

Dr Haines has written to Senator McKenzie after Tintaldra Hall was rejected for funding after mistakenly being classed as a state government entity, despite being a completely volunteer-run organisation.

The action from Dr Haines   follows a similar letter from the National Party Member for Gippsland, Darren Chester MP, who wrote to Senator McKenzie on the same issue, which has affected three community halls in Gippsland that were erroneously deemed ineligible for funding.“This is a howler from the Federal Government and the National Recovery and Resilience Agency,” said Dr Haines.

“Community halls in Victoria are managed by all-volunteer Committees of Management and they simply use a state government ABN.

“This is a bureaucratic stuff up and if anyone with common sense had looked at these applications, they would have realised volunteer-run, not-for-profit community halls are in no way state government entities. All it needed was a phone call and Tintaldra Hall’s application could have been properly considered. It needs to be fixed straight away.”“Tintaldra was in the heart of the fires. The local community is rightly frustrated at this latest rejection.”Dr Haines urged Senator McKenzie to reconsider her decisions given they were based on inaccurate information.

“I echo Darren Chester’s call for the Minister to urgently reconsider these applications of all the community halls deemed ineligible for the Black Summer funding.”

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