SEVERELY-INJURED victims of the Black Saturday fires will receive up to $100,000 to help with the cost of long-term medical treatment, surgery and rehabilitation.
About 20 fire burns victims are expected to eligible for the funding from the Victorian Bushfires Appeal. Announcing the new funding at The Alfred hospital yesterday, John Landy, the chairman of the appeal fund's advisory panel, said burns injuries were horrific, and would have an impact for years to come.
"People would assume that these people are going to have very disadvantaged lives in the future," he said.
An unconditional lump sum payment of $50,000 will be provided for victims who were admitted to hospital for periods of three weeks or more.
An additional payment of up to $50,000 will be available for support, such as altering homes and rehabilitation, and will be based on medical assessments.
Premier John Brumby indicated there was a good case for improvement to The Alfred's burns unit, which has treated bushfire burns victims from across Victoria. More than 70 people were admitted to hospital because of the February 7 fires.
The new funding comes as the Red Cross said it was "unacceptable" that some donations made to the bushfire appeal had not been cashed.
Almost $324 million has now been donated to the fund, which closed last week, with more than $235 million allocated.
■Firefighters have taken advantage of mild weather to start the first major fuel-reduction burns in the Dandenongs and Yarra Valley since the Black Saturday bushfires. More than 3000 hectares of the Dandenong Ranges National Park below Olinda, at Cockatoo and outside five townships in the Yarra Valley have been burnt since Saturday.
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