REAL AUSTRALIA

Voice of Real Australia: Summer's victims still need us

Voice of Real Australia is a regular newsletter from ACM, which has journalists in every state and territory. Sign up here to get it by email, or here to forward it to a friend.

The bushfire in Namadgi National Park earlier in the year. Photo: Sitthixay Ditthavong

The bushfire in Namadgi National Park earlier in the year. Photo: Sitthixay Ditthavong

Remember the bushfires?

For some, bushfires have been single central focus of their lives since late last year. The immediate danger may be long gone but the conscious reality of a fatal summer is a relentless constant for communities across swathes of the country. It doesn't go away.

Australia spent many of the ensuing months clapping itself on the back about mateship forging a path through the tough times and the sheer wonderfulness of people helping others in need.

And fair enough, too. Millions upon millions of dollars were raised. People donated until they were told not to; some shopped online to provide some sort of support to affected communities, others offered up skills to help with the rebuild and so on.

And then yesterday the head of Australia's bushfire recovery effort has acknowledged some survivors are missing out on aid "depending on which side of an artificial line" they live on.

More than 35 million hectares burnt across Australia last bushfire season, the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements heard on Thursday.

However National Bushfire Recovery coordinator Andrew Colvin said his agency only had a role in helping people across a 13.5 million hectare range.

The Canberra Times' Katie Burgess explains it all here.

And this comes after the recovery agency's deputy co-ordinator Major General Andrew Hocking told a Senate inquiry on Tuesday that just 291,000 of the 7.1 million people who live in local government areas impacted directly or indirectly by the fires have received money.

Labor leader Anthony Albanese called the government's $2 billion bushfire recovery fund "overly bureaucratic and poorly targeted".

A global pandemic has run interference and its impact cannot be understated. But when? When does the focus return to bushfire victims?

They still are homeless. The release of the government's HomeBuilder Scheme is unlikely to provide a crumb of comfort either.

More stuff happening around Australia ...

Sign up to get our Voice of Real Australia updates straight to your inbox