$9.7 million for flood hit Australian communities

As flooding continues to cause significant damage and disruption across the east coast, the Australian Government is providing an extra $9.7 million to impacted communities to boost mental health supports and respond to the public health risks posed by mosquito borne diseases.

The Hon Mark Butler MP
Minister for Health and Aged Care

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As flooding continues to cause significant damage and disruption across the east coast, the Australian Government is providing an extra $9.7 million to impacted communities to boost mental health supports and respond to the public health risks posed by mosquito‑borne diseases.

More than 135 Local Government Areas across New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania have experienced flooding in recent months. This has devastated communities, the environment, and infrastructure and is taking a toll on the mental and physical health of many Australians.

This funding includes:

  • $4 million to support First Nations communities most affected by the floods to provide much needed mental health support, including trauma counselling and healing support activities, provided by local community-controlled organisations;
  • $1.5 million for local Wellbeing and Resilience Grants to help communities recover, to be rolled out by local Primary Health Networks (PHNs);
  • $1.2 million to improve local disaster coordination by PHNs, and;
  • $300,000 to create and translate communications materials for culturally and linguistically diverse communities so they know what help and support is available.

As the immediate danger of flooding passes, retained water can pose additional problems for communities, including an increased risk of mosquito-borne diseases.

Avoiding being bitten is of key importance over the coming months to limit the risk of infection from dangerous diseases transmitted by mosquitoes which may be present, such as Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) and Murray Valley encephalitis.

Funding has been provided to improve awareness of the risk from JEV and other mosquito-borne viruses and how to protect yourself, and to improve future preparedness nationally from outbreaks, including:

  • $1.7 million to immediately enhance existing communications on the risk of mosquito-borne viruses and the importance of bite-avoidance measures to prevent infection, and
  • $1 million to support national consistency of mosquito management and control activities and improve understanding of risk patterns and areas where JEV might be present, which will ensure Australia can respond effectively to future outbreak events, including those caused by natural disasters such as flooding.

Contact your local public health authority to find out if you should have a JEV vaccine.

This package builds on Australian Government funding of $13.1 million announced in August 2022 and $31.2 million in March 2022 to provide mental health support in New South Wales and Queensland areas hit by flooding earlier this year. This funding also complements state response activities in flood-affected areas.

Anyone experiencing distress can also seek immediate support through Lifeline (13 11 14), Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800), or head to www.headtohealth.gov.au or call Head to Health (1800 595 212).

Quotes attributable to Acting Prime Minister Marles:

"As flood waters continue to rise it is clear the impacts of these events will be felt for years to come.

"The Albanese Government is committed to long term assistance for these communities, importantly that includes mental health support."

Quotes attributable to Minister Butler:

“Mental health is one of the Albanese Government’s highest priorities, and we know the flooding across south-eastern Australia is putting enormous strain on individuals and communities.

“Our funding will help ensure that people who have been impacted by the floods can access help and support, and that assistance is there throughout their recovery.

“We also want Australians living in, and travelling to, flooded areas to understand the risk of mosquito-borne illness, particularly as the ongoing La Nina conditions are likely to bring continuing rain and the ideal conditions for mosquito numbers to dramatically expand.”

Quotes attributable to Minister Watt:

“These floods have been widespread, and this assistance will go a long way to supporting the mental and physical health of impacted communities in New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania.

“Natural disasters and the recovery process afterwards impact people in a range of ways, and we are committed to making sure help is available.

“This support comes on top of the existing financial support already provided by the Albanese Government to help flood-affected regions recover, and we will continue to work with state governments to ensure communities have what they need.”

Quotes attributable to Assistant Minister McBride:

“Cumulative natural disasters like floods are traumatic and have a significant impact on the mental health and wellbeing of individuals, families, and communities.

“That’s why the Albanese Government is providing funding to help communities with their flood response in a way that best suits their needs, whether that’s mental health training for community organisations or social events such as community barbeques or picnics, which help bring people together.

“We want to make sure all Australians have access to the care and support they need, when they need it.”

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