Assistance for bushfire affected communities

We're here to help.

We know the road to recovery will be long. Our people and suppliers will be here every step of the way to support you, and your local community. Our team will continue to work with our bushfire impacted customers and provide support through the claims process.

If you’re in urgent need of emergency assistance, such as temporary accommodation or emergency cash payments, this can be accessed before a claim is lodged or assessed. Please contact us straightaway to discuss your immediate needs.

To assist you with understanding the support services available to bushfire affected communities we’ve put together the following resource. It outlines a range of state and federal government disaster assistance services available to local communities. Although this list may not be conclusive it is intended to be a helpful starting point to support your recovery.

To follow is information relating to bushfire and disaster assistance services available for each state including links to information about financial assistance options and additional support services.

National Support Services

Bushfires – Support for people directly affected by bushfires in disaster declared areas

Australian Government, Department of Human Services

Call Human Services on 180 22 66 for:

  • Commonwealth Government Disaster Recovery Payment – up to $1000 per adult and $800 per child for people severely affected by the bushfires
  • Commonwealth Government Disaster Recovery Allowance – short term income assistance for people severely affected by the bushfires.
  • For information on eligibility, visit Department of Human Services

The Department of Human Services also have mobile service teams providing on the ground support in various bushfire affected areas. Specialised staff are available to help you access disaster recovery assistance, payments and supplier services. They can also help you access Centrelink, Medicare and Child Support services using free self service facilities at these locations. To find out more about where you can access mobile services click here.

The Government has announced an extra $40 million that can be used for food vouchers or to pay for utility bills, clothing and petrol.  This money is being distributed by the following organisations and the hotline numbers are:

  • Salvation Army Disasters Assistance team: 1300 662 217
  • St Vincent de Paul bushfire assistance: 13 18 12

Support for primary producers

Emergency Bushfire Response in Primary Industries Grants Program

Australian Government

For more information on the Emergency Bushfire Response in Primary Industries Grants Program please contact 1800 900 090:

  • Up to $75,000 in grants for farming businesses in fire-affected regions, with the funding administered by each state government
  • Funding can be used to access essentials like fodder and water, help to rebuild fencing or hire vital agricultural equipment like water pumps, irrigation systems, horticultural netting and generators.
  • Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangement will be made available to state governments of impacted communities, on request, for delivery through their relevant state disaster response agency.
  • The Government is expected to announce further details as soon as state-based delivery arrangements are confirmed

Bushfire support and information - find local agricultural support

Australian Government, Department of Agriculture

This resource includes a list of the immediate assistance available to those impacted by the bushfire crisis in Australia, in particular local agricultural support.

Click here for more information

Support programs and services for rural communities

  • Rural financial counselling service - Australian Government, Department of Agriculture
  • BlazeAid - Working alongside rural communities, this volunteer-based organisation helps rebuild fences and other structures that are damaged or destroyed in bushfires

Support for small business and non-profit organisations

  • The Federal Government has announced that it will provide top-up grants to eligible small business and non-profit organisations that have sustained damage as a result of fires. These organisations can access up to $50,000 in grant funding (tax free).
  • Concessional interest rate loans up to $500,000 for small businesses, primary producers and non-profit organisations where there has been significant asset loss or loss of revenue due to the bushfires.

The dedicated, single contact point for small businesses is 13 28 45 or visit www.business.gov.au

Tax obligations release

Taxpayers in impacted postcodes will have until 28 May 2020 to lodge and pay Business Activity Statements (BAS) and income tax returns. 

Call the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) Emergency Support Infoline on 1800 806 218 for help.

National Debt Hotline

Financial counsellors are available on 1800 007 007 or by visiting www.ndh.org.au

Mental health services

Extra funding has been provided for anyone experiencing distress as a result of the fires. For immediate distress and trauma support, individuals can contact Services Australia on 180 22 66 or email their local Primary Health Network (PHN) at www.health.gov.au/phn to locate and access these services.

In addition, anyone experiencing distress as a result of these events can seek immediate advice and support through the following organisations:

Destroyed passports

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade will replace passports that have been lost or damaged in declared natural disasters free of charge, visit the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website for more information.

Banks and other financial institutions

Customers who have been impacted by these fires should contact their bank when they are able to do so to access a wide range of help, including deferring loan payments, waiving fees and consolidating debts.  Customers should contact their financial institution for information.

Energy companies

Many energy companies have indicated they can provide assistance to customers who are affected by the bushfires.  This could include bill credits, waiving debt, or advice on accessing government assistance. Customers should contact their energy providers for information.

State-based Support Services

The Australian Government portal DisasterAssist provides disaster assistance information filters by state and disaster type. Visit the portal access information relevant to individual state incidents.

New South Wales

Assistance for bushfire affected communities (NSW)

NSW Government, Service NSW

Visit a Service NSW Centre or call 13 77 88 between 7am and 7pm to connect with a Customer Care specialist who can check eligibility and help access available assistance being offered by local councils, the State Government and Federal Government through the NSW Government’s new Bushfire Customer Care program.

Disaster Assistance – Financial Support

NSW Government, Office of Emergency Management

Call the NSW Rural Assistance Authority on 1800 678 593 for:

  • Primary producer assistance – up to $15,000 recovery grants (33 LGAs only), concessional loans and transport subsidies for eligible primary producers
  • Sporting club assistance – concessional loans for eligible sporting clubs
  • Church and non-profit organisation assistance – up to $15,000 recovery grants (33 LGAs only) and concessional loans for eligible churches and non-profit organisations.
  • Click here for more information, including eligibility criteria and information for Disaster relief loans and Grants and subsidies

Call the Disaster Welfare Assistance Line on 1800 018 444 for:

  • NSW Government Disaster Relief Grants – financial assistance for eligible individuals who have low income and limited assets.
  • Click here for more information

Support for rural communities 

Other rural programs and services:

South Australia 

Relief and recovery information for current bushfires in SA

Government of South Australia, Department of Human Services

Disaster Recovery Assistance and Information (SA)

Government of South Australia

Call the SA Bushfire Recovery Hotline on 1800 302 787 for:

  • Re-establishment grants - up to $10,000 to help re-establish and repair bushfire-damaged homes for eligible individuals
  • Personal Hardship Emergency Grants - up to $700 per family (or $280 per individual adult) one-off emergency grants to assist with immediate, temporary relief for eligible individuals
  • Tax relief measures (stamp duty and land tax liabilities) and the waiver of some administrative fees for replacement drivers licences and copies of birth, death and marriage certificates for those who have had these lost or destroyed in the bushfires

Support for business

South Australian Business Bushfire Recovery

Government of South Australia, Department for Information and Skills

Call the South Australian Small Business Bushfire Recovery Grant Enquiry Line on 8429 3242 for:

  • Small business grants - up to $10,000 is available to eligible small businesses impacted by bushfires for the costs associated with clean-up, restoration and rebuilding
  • Click here for more information, including eligibility criteria

Support for primary producers

Recovery grants for bushfire affected primary producers

Government of South Australia, Primary Industries and Regions SA

Call the PIRSA Recovery Hotline on 1800 931 314 for:

  • Primary producer assistance – up to $15,000 recovery grants, concessional loans and transport subsidies for eligible primary producers

2019/2020 bushfire information for primary producers

Government of South Australia, Primary Industries and Regions SA

Call the PIRSA Bushfire Hotline on 1800 255 556 for primary producers and/or animal owners seeking urgent assistance and information on agricultural impacts or animal issues.

Victoria

Relief and Recovery - VicEmergency

Victoria State Government

Financial Assistance - VicEmergency

Victoria State Government

Call 1800 961 054 for:

  • Emergency Relief Assistance Payments - up to $560 per adult and $280 per child (up to a maximum of $1960 per eligible household). Relief payments are intended to help meet immediate needs, including emergency food, accommodation, clothing, medication and personal items.
  • Emergency Re-establishment Payments - up to $42,250 in grants per eligible household. The grants will be available for clean-up, emergency accommodation, repairs, rebuilding (a principal place of residence), and replacing some damaged contents. Re-establishment assistance is available to individuals or families who do not have building (home) insurance or contents insurance.
  • Click here for more information

Bushfire Support and Information (East Gippsland)

East Gippsland Shire Council

Emergency Recovery Information - Gippsland and Upper Murray Fires

Victoria State Government, Agriculture Victoria

Practical information for managing a farm after a fire including livestock management as well as information about bushfire recovery, bushfire financial support and personal and family support.

Support for business

Information for business owners - VicEmergency

Victoria State Government

Support for landowners

Call the Department of Environment, Land Water and Planning (DELWP) on 136 186 (Monday to Friday, 8:00am to 6:00pm) to discuss:

  • The Victoria State Government has announced that it will help landholders in bushfire-affected communities repair damaged or destroyed fences between private land and National Parks, State Parks and State forests.
  • The Government will pay half the cost of these boundary fencing upgrades, up to $5,000 per kilometre, to make them fire-resistant with concrete posts.

Queensland

Recovery after a disaster - Financial Assistance and Support Services

Queensland Government, Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors

Call the Community Recovery Hotline on 1800 173 349 for:

Support for primary producers

Disaster Recovery

Queensland Government, Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority

Call 1800 623 946 for:

Further information

For further information about how to access our customer assistance options or to make a claim please read our information for bushfire-affected customers