Westpac to pay bushfire mortgages
Westpac has offered to pay one year off the mortgages for customers who lost their homes in this season's bushfires.
The acting chief executive of the big four bank, Peter King, made the announcement today as Australians continue to be affected by the ongoing bushfire crisis.
Customers who took out their mortgage through Westpac will have repayments up to $1200 per month paid for over a period of one year.
"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," Mr 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," Mr King said.
The initiative adds to what Westpac is already doing, including offering emergency grants worth up to $2,000 for customers whose properties have been destroyed or damaged by the bushfires.
The announcement comes as cooler temperatures and rain helped slow out-of-control fires in Victoria and NSW.
Fire assessors have been escorted by the military into the cut-off town of Mallacoota as Victoria counts the cost of the devastating blazes.
The convoy of defence vehicles travelled from Orbost to Mallacoota in East Gippsland on Monday, with the road still closed to normal traffic because of the bushfire damage.
Assessors from the Metropolitan Fire Brigade were in the convoy, tasked with gauging the extent of damage to buildings and infrastructure.
Elsewhere in Victoria, communities along the Monaro Highway were urged to "act immediately" when an out of control fire moved towards the road near Kate's Creek.
NSW firefighters and weather forecasters are cautious ahead of much-needed rain forecast for the state this week.
Rain is expected for much of the state from Tuesday, including fire grounds across the Snowy Mountains, southwest of Sydney and south coast regions.
But the NSW Rural Fire Service warned that because much of the rain would come with thunderstorms, downfalls could be patchy and there was no guarantee they would extinguish the 105 fires burning across the state on Monday night.
The Bureau of Meteorology said it was difficult to predict exactly how much rain would fall because the downpours will be inconsistent.
- with AAP