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Victorian Government Website (Victoria, the Place to Be)
Department of Human Services, Victoria, Australia
Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund

Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund

Psychological Support Package

Bushfire Psychological Counselling Voucher Program

Information for applicants

The Bushfire Psychological Counselling Voucher Program has been developed through a $3.5 million gift from the Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund. It aims to assist people directly affected by the 2009 Victorian bushfires to access additional psychological counselling support.

What does the program do?

The program provides six counselling sessions to each individual (including dependant children over five years of age) who has been directly affected by the 2009 Victorian bushfires. Applicants will be sent six vouchers that can be used to see an eligible counsellor of their own choice, and in their own time.

Additional rounds of six vouchers at a time will be issued to people who have used up their previous entitlement and wish to continue with their treatment.

Applicants who require additional counselling support beyond the Bushfire Psychological Counselling Voucher Program or who require specialist treatment should visit their local general medical practitioner for ongoing advice and referral.

The program commenced on 10 August 2009 and has now been extended for an additional six months. People can apply for vouchers until 31 December 2012 , and they can be redeemed until 31 March 2013. Vouchers can be used anytime during this period. Vouchers cannot be used for counselling sessions that have taken place before 10 August 2009.

Who is eligible for this program?

People eligible for the program include:

  • people who have received grants paid by the Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund
  • people receiving or who have received Victorian Bushfire Case Management
  • dependant children (over 5 years of age) of eligible people above
  • other people who have been directly affected by the Victorian bushfires, for example, family and close friends of people affected by the bushfires and those people who have lost their livelihood directly through the effects of the bushfires.

How does the program work?

The program has four steps.

  1. Register for the program
  2. Receive your vouchers
  3. Make an appointment with an eligible counsellor
  4. Attend your appointment and give the counsellor your voucher.
If you require additional rounds of vouchers, simply submit an Application for Additional Bushfire Psychological Counselling Vouchers form or contact our hotline directly on 1800 180 213. Please note if you are applying for vouchers for the first time you must complete an initial application form.

Who are eligible counsellors?

Only counsellors eligible to participate in the program can accept counselling vouchers.These are:

  • psychological counsellors employed in community health services receiving funds from the Department of Health.
  • psychologists, social workers and occupational therapists registered as approved Medicare providers under the Commonwealth Government's Better Access to Mental Health Care initiative.
  • psychological counsellors working with Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement.

Contact details of these eligible providers are available at:

How to register for the program

To register for the program complete an application form. Parents/guardians may apply on behalf of children over five years of age. Young people may also apply independently if they wish.

Download a Bushfire Psychological Counselling Voucher Program application form [PDF 310KB] or obtain a hard copy from Community Service Hubs and bushfire case managers.

To register for additional vouchers

Applicants who have used all six of their vouchers, including parents who have used all six of their vouchers in family counselling to support care of children under five years of age, can apply for an additional six vouchers for further counselling support. Simply complete the form Application for Additional Bushfire Psychological Counselling Voucher [PDF 181KB] or contact our hotline directly on 1800 180 213. 

Send completed forms to:

Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund
GPO BOX 4057
Melbourne 3001
Fax (03) 9092 1926

Further information is available through our hotline on 1800 180 213.

There is also Psychological Support Package information for Service Providers.