Westpac To Waive Year's Worth Of Mortgage Payments For People Affected By Bushfires
Thousands of Australians are currently trying to work out how to rebuild their lives after bushfires destroyed their homes or properties.
Some are insured and others aren't - either way, it's causing a hell of a lot of distress for those with mortgage repayments coming up.
Westpac has now announced it will come to the rescue of their affected customers and will waive all repayments for a whole year. The big bank says people with payments of up to $1,200 a month will have them wiped for 12 months to allow them to get back on their feet.
Westpac's acting chief executive Peter King said this is obviously a stressful time and the bank doesn't want its customers worrying about their usual monthly outgoings.
"These initiatives are designed to provide practical, on the ground support for our customers, our people and for those who are caring for affected communities," King said in a statement sent to news.com.au.
"In times of such unprecedented devastation, we want customers and communities to know we're here to help alleviate financial concerns so they can rebuild their lives, homes and businesses."
In addition to that generosity, the bank has announced that anyone who has experienced the devastation of losing their home to a bushfire can apply for a grant.
Affected people will be eligible for an emergency grant worth up to $2,000.
As bushfires continue to rage, so too does the smoke that ends up drifting all across the country.
Melbourne has recorded seriously dangerous air quality levels today, with Brighton registering a 655 AQI (air quality index - anything over 200 is considered hazardous). When you compare it to other cities on the list like 380 for Delhi, 55 in Canberra and 159 in Shouguang, you know it's high.
The whole state is expected to experience 'poor' or 'very poor' air quality as a result of 19 bushfires, mainly concentrated in the East Gippsland area.
Frighteningly, the smoke that has been emanating from the fires is expected to complete a round the world trip. Scientists from NASA have explained that the smoke plume has travelled past South America and will soon be over Western Australia.
"Over the past week, NASA satellites have observed an extraordinary amount of smoke injected into the atmosphere from the Australian fires and its subsequent eastward dispersal," the agency said.
"The smoke is expected to make at least one full circuit around the globe, returning once again to the skies over Australia."
The agency added that the bushfires have been creating their own type of weather, which has helped the smoke plume move so far.
Featured Image Credit: PA