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Bushfire resources – grants and assistance

Weather & Environment

Wellbeing and Mental health

As bushfire-impacted communities move from assessment to the long road to re establishing orchards and businesses physically impacted by the fires, a reminder of the huge, often invisible toll battling fires and losing trees, stock, buildings and incomes takes mentally and emotionally on everyone. Often this toll doesn’t hit home until the danger is past, the fires are out and the need for urgent activity is past. Whether you suffered property or crop losses personally, fought fires, manned support services or just know people who did, look out for yourself, for your family, your friends and your neighbours, all of whom for many reasons may not feel okay. Take time to listen.

There are a range of resources and support services, including the below:

Bushfires and mental health – recognise the signs: Beyond Blue sets out common, and less common, reactions to extreme situations experienced in bushfire communities, some suggestions on dealing with emotional impact and some links to further resources.

How to support friends, family and colleagues through the bushfire crisis – A conversation can change a life: RuOK has some simple steps for starting conversations with someone you think may be struggling.

Emergency health management – a range of support services is available through the Australian Government, including grants for community events to support community health and rebuilding. Download PDF of Australian Government mental health support services

Bushfire Recovery Access Program

The Department of Health is funding free counselling and additional mental health support for individuals, families and emergency services workers affected by the bushfires.

Key points:

  • Medicare rebates for up to 10 mental health treatment services – available from 17 January, 2020
  • Medicare rebates for video telehealth services – available now
  • Community grants of up to $10,000 are expected to open in April 2020

Call the Public Health Information Hotline on 1800 004 599

Supporting community recovery – following the success of the Empowering Our Communities community grants in response to the drought, the Federal Government has announced a new community grant round will open in April 2020.

Community grants of up to $10,000 will be provided through Primary Health Networks (PHNs) in regions severely affected by bushfires for activities at the grass-roots level to strengthen social connectedness and peer support activities, as well as outreach identify and support individuals at risk. Bushfire-affected PHNs will also be provided with additional funding to expand their mental health services in fire affected regions.

Over The Farm Gate – has a list of support service websites and helpline numbers

 

National grants, or state-specific? Quick navigation:

National
New South Wales
Victoria
Queensland
South Australia
Western Australia

National

The new National Bushfire Recovery Agency has launched a website to keep affected communities up-to-date on the rebuild process.

 

Bushfire support package for small businesses

This package encompasses grant funding, concessional loans, tax relief, a dedicated and single contact point to help access the support that is available, and financial counselling services that are targeted to help small and family business owners deal with the emotional and financial challenges they face.

Tourism recovery package

The Government has pledged $76 million towards a tourism recovery package to protect jobs, small businesses and local economies affected by the bushfires.

The Government’s initial tourism recovery package includes $20 million for a nationally coordinated domestic marketing initiative and $25 million for a global marketing campaign to drive international visitation.

A further $10 million will be provided for a regional tourism events initiative across bushfire affected areas, $9.5 million for an international media and travel trade hosting initiative, $6.5 million to support tourism business’ attendance at the largest annual tourism trade event, the Australian Tourism Exchange, and $5 million for our diplomatic network to educate that our tourism, international education and export sectors are open for business.

Disaster Recovery Allowance

The Department of Human Services is providing support for people who have lost income as a direct result of the bushfires in New South Wales, Eastern Queensland, South Australia, and Victoria through the Disaster Recovery Allowance.

Disaster Recovery Allowance is a short term payment to help you if a declared disaster directly affects your income. You can get it for a maximum of 13 weeks. It’s payable from the date you lose income as a direct result of the bushfires.

The maximum payment rate is the equivalent of Newstart or Youth Allowance, based on your circumstances. Your rate of payment will be affected by your income prior to and following the disaster.

Disaster Recovery Payment

The Department of Human Services is providing support for people adversely affected by the bushfires in New South Wales, Eastern Queensland, South Australia and Victoria through the Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment.

The Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment is a one-off payment to help you if a declared disaster significantly affects you. It’s not for minor damage or inconvenience.

You can choose to get this payment in 2 instalments if you prefer. If you’re eligible you will get:

  • $1,000 per adult
  • $400 for each child younger than 16.

Red Cross Emergency grants

If you’ve lost your home in a bushfire since July 2019, you can apply for an emergency grant of $5,000.

Emergency grants are open across Australia to people whose primary place of residence has been destroyed or rendered uninhabitable as the result of bushfires from 1 July 2019 to 28 February 2020.

Emergency bushfire support for primary producers

The Australian Government has committed $100 million in emergency grants for primary producers.

Up to $75,000 is available to farmers, fishers and foresters. This is to cover costs for immediate and emergency needs not covered by existing insurance policies.

Call 1800 900 090 for more details.

NAB Disaster Relief fund

NAB is providing grants of $2,000 to customers who have lost their homes to bushfire, to help cover costs such as temporary accommodation, food, and clothing. They are also providing support for NAB business and agribusiness customers directly impacted by bushfires to help restart or reopen and cover the cost of damaged property, equipment, fencing – and for loss of stock or livestock.

For information on how to access the grants contact the NAB Assist team on the dedicated number 1300 683 106 (8am-8pm Monday to Friday; and 9am-1pm Saturday AEST/AEDT).

NAB business and agribusiness customer wishing to access the grants should call NAB’s dedicated team on 1300 023 429

Westpac Bushfire FundBushfire Recovery Support Package

Westpac Group has established a $1.5 million Bushfire Fund, which will include $500,000 in grants to immediately support customers and employees whose properties have been destroyed or damaged. Grants of up to $2000 can be accessed to help cover temporary accommodation, food, and clothing.

Those requiring assistance or support should contact their local branch, Relationship Manager or call the Westpac Assist team on 1800 067 497 to discuss their circumstances. More info.

Additional support has been allocated for Westpac mortgage customers who have lost their principal place of residence due to the bushfires. Westpac will pay the customer’s mortgage repayments for one year (up to $1,200 per month). Westpac’s Bushfire Recovery Support Package also supports a range of measures for retail and business customers, as well as affected communities. More info.

CommBank Bushfire Recovery Grants

Up to $50,000 grants available to assist the longer term recovery of organisations directly affected by the bushfires.

Community organisations, fire services, schools, sporting clubs and non-government organisations in a bushfire affected area are eligible to apply.

ANZ Bushfire Relief Package

ANZ is providing a bushfire relief package for customers affected by bushfires across the nation.

ANZ customers affected by bushfires in a disaster-declared area are encouraged to visit their local branch if they are able, or to contact their relationship manager to discuss the impact on their business or personal circumstances. Customers can also contact ANZ’s dedicated financial hardship team on 1800 149 549 or anz.com/hardship.

Bank First Bushfire Assistance Package

Bank First have a financial assistance package to support customers experiencing hardship.

Support is available based on your needs and includes: interest-free loans of up to $5000; the ability to defer loan and credit card repayments; credit card customers can apply for an emergency credit card limit increase; waiver of interest rate reduction for term deposit withdrawals prior to maturity; waiver of other fees and charges that are derived as a result of the bushfires.

Customers with home and contents insured through CGU can also apply for emergency funds and temporary accommodation costs.

The Bank First Community Fund will provide donations of up to $10,000 to help Victorian schools and preschools rebuild.

Call their Customer Care team on 03 9834 8530 to find out more and discuss your needs

OAKS Bushfire Support Offer

Oaks Hotels, Resorts & Suites have announced that selected properties nationwide will offer complimentary rooms for up to seven days for those who have lost their homes.

Eligible applicants are entitled to seven nights free accommodation across any Australian property of Minor Hotels, subject to blockout periods which will be notified upon enquiry. Participating properties are located in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia.

Salvation Army disaster support

The Salvation Army offers a range of services and assistance measures to help people who have been impacted by bushfires including:

  • Financial assistance
  • Emotional wellbeing and support services
  • Information, referrals, and advice.

Contact The Salvation Army Disasters Assistance team by calling 1300 662 217

Reece Grant – Bushfire Rebuild projects

The Reece Grant will be directing all funds raised until 30 June 2020 to projects dedicated to Bushfire Rebuild projects. The Reece Group have kick-started this fund with $150,000.

Bushfire Emergency Response Grant to Assist Indigenous Australians

The Indigenous Land and Sea Corporation (ILSC) has established an emergency response grant for any Indigenous corporation whose property has been directly affected by the recent bushfires. A grant of up to $20,000 will be available to assist Indigenous corporations to immediately secure and clean up damaged properties.

The ILSC will also make available a grant to assist Indigenous land management groups and contractors assisting recovery efforts with equipment.

Indigenous corporations who have been directly impacted by the current bushfire emergency and are seeking assistance should contact the ILSC on 1800 818 490

Indigenous Business Australia (IBA) Bushfire Crisis Support

To assist its business finance and home loan customers directly impacted by the current bushfires through the loss of property or compulsory evacuation, IBA has established a Bushfire Crisis Fund that will provide the following support:

  • Temporary suspension of loan repayments;
  • Access to a $2,000 bushfire crisis grant to cover immediate needs;
  • Assistance with making insurance claims; and
  • Further assistance for business customers to be assessed on an individual basis.

Customers who have either lost property or been evacuated from their homes are encouraged to contact IBA on 1800 064 800 to discuss how they can assist you at this time.

Powershop customer support

Electricity provider Powershop is providing support for customers who have lost their homes, been impacted by the bushfires, and who are volunteer firefighters and SES volunteers.

For customers who have lost their homes, Powershop will place all bills on hold until further notice, offer a range of account payment help options, access to their bushfire relief offer and cover any fees associated with connecting energy at new or temporary accommodation.

Customers who are volunteer firefighters and SES volunteers are eligible for a one-off saving of $100 to your Powershop electricity account. If you are a registered volunteer firefighter or SES volunteer please share your volunteer ID number with Powershop to receive the voucher.

Contact Powershop on 1800 462 668 or info@powershop.com.au

Bushfire Impact Research Grant

Applications are now open for research that addresses a gap in evidence related to physiological impacts of prolonged bushfire smoke exposure and/or mental health impacts of bushfires on affected communities.

This project will link researchers, institutions, policy makers and professional associations together to gather evidence on the physiological and mental health effects of bushfires and exposure to hazardous smoke over time. This evidence will inform future preparedness, response and recovery efforts and provide accurate and practical public health advice to the community during future bushfire and medium-term smoke events.

A total pool of $5 million is available.

New South Wales

The Age has compiled a helpful explainer about the different types of financial assistance available in NSW:

Rural Assistance Authority Disaster Recovery Grants

Disaster recovery grants of up to $15,000 are now available to primary producers, small businesses and not-for-profit organisations in LGAs affected by the NSW bushfires that have occured from 31 August 2019.

NSW Government Disaster Relief Grants

NSW Government Disaster Relief Grants are available for eligible individuals and families whose homes and essential household contents have been damaged or destroyed by a natural disaster.

Contact the Disaster Welfare Assistance Line on 1800 018 444 

Wildlife Heroes Bushfire Emergency Fund

Up to $100,000 is available through the Wildlife Heroes Bushfire Emergency Fund 2019 grant program, with NSW licensed wildlife volunteer groups able to apply for up to $10,000 and independent wildlife license holders $1,000.

Volunteer Firefighter Payment

The Volunteer Firefighter Payment is for eligible volunteer firefighters who are self-employed or employed by small and medium businesses, and have lost income due to being called out for more than 10 days since 1 July 2019.

Payments of up to $300 per day, with a total cap of $6000, will be available in the 2019–2020 financial year. The payments are tax-free and not means-tested.

Disaster relief loans – Small business

The Rural Assistance Authority supports small businesses who have been directly affected by a declared natural disaster including floods, fires or storm damage with low interest loans of up to $130,000.

This low interest rate loan can help a small business:

  • return to its normal level of trading or until the next major income is received within 12 months from the date of disaster
  • replace and repair damage caused to your small business and associated improvements not covered by insurance.

Download the NSW DPI Assistance for primary producers affected by bushfire flyer.

Victoria

Personal Hardship Assistance Program

If you have been affected by a natural disaster or single house fire and you are experiencing financial hardship, you may be eligible for an emergency relief and/or emergency re-establishment payments.

Emergency relief assistance may be available for up to 7 days after the emergency event. A one-off payment is provided to help meet immediate needs, including emergency food, shelter, clothing, medication and accommodation.

Payments of up to $560 per adult and $280 per child (up to a maximum of $1960 per eligible household). To find out if you are eligible, visit a relief centre in the area. Go to https://www.emergency.vic.gov.au/relief/#relief_and_recovery_centres to check which relief centres are open.

Emergency re-establishment assistance will support eligible recipients to re-establish their homes as quickly as possible after a natural disaster. The total maximum emergency re-establishment payment is $42,250 per household (as at December 2019).

Monash University Bushfire Crisis Student Grant

If you’ve been impacted by the 2019/2020 bushfires, grants of up to $2,000 are available to support you in your studies at Monash.

Money provided through a grant can be used for essential living expenses and such things as laptops (to meet BYOD requirements), course materials or other unexpected expenses.

Tax Relief And Council Support For Communities

Businesses, families, and individuals whose properties have been destroyed or substantially damaged by bushfires will receive ex-gratia relief for their 2020 land tax assessment. Land tax will be also be waived on eligible properties being used to provide free accommodation for people who need it.

For people who decide not to rebuild in their local community, the Government will provide up to $55,000 in stamp duty relief if they buy a home elsewhere.

For people who lost motor vehicles due to bushfires, they can receive up to $2,100 in ex-gratia relief from the duty on up to two replacement vehicles.

Wildlife Rehabilitator Bushfire Grants

A one-off payment of up to $1,000 is available to assist authorised wildlife rehabilitators affected by bushfires occurring in the 2019-2020 fire season, such as the fires of East Gippsland, North East and South West Victoria.

These grants are for the most immediate and basic supplies and services to support your wildlife emergency response. Feed, consumables and veterinary consultations are eligible items.

For more information call 1300 366 356 or email enviro.grants@delwp.vic.gov.au

Bushfire Recovery Victoria (BRV)

This new permanent and dedicated agency will work directly with local communities impacted by Victoria’s devastating bushfires.

The Victorian Bushfires Community Recovery Package will provide $86 million in support to affected areas, including $75,000 for Recovery Grants, $35 million for Community Recovery and Resilience Grants, as well as a Bushfires Case Support program to assist local residents by linking them directly with vital support, such as information and advice, mental health support or financial counselling.

The Bushfire Clean-up Program covers the demolition and disposal of all buildings destroyed or damaged beyond repair by this season’s bushfires free of charge for eligible property owners. You do not need to be insured to be eligible for this program.

Transport subsidies for primary producers

The Victorian Government has today announced transport subsidies of up to $15,000 for primary producers (including apiarists) affected by bushfires across Victoria. Primary producers can claim the subsidy on eligible transport costs that directly address immediate animal welfare needs, including the transport of:

  • Emergency fodder for stock to fire-affected properties
  • Stock to agistment (including returning stock)
  • Stock to sale or slaughter
  • Emergency stock drinking water.

For more information contact Rural Finance on 1800 260 425 or visit ruralfinance.com.au.

Queensland

Emergency Hardship Assistance Program

The Emergency Hardship Assistance Grant is available as a contribution to support people directly impacted by a disaster to meet their immediate essential needs for food, clothing, medical supplies or temporary accommodation.

Applicants may receive $180 per person up to $900 for a family of 5 or more.

For more information, visit the Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors website.

Essential Services Hardship Grant

This grant supports people directly impacted by a disaster to meet their immediate needs where they have experienced loss of one or more essential services for more than 5 days.

Applicants may receive $150 per person, up to $750 for a family of 5 or more.

For more information, visit the Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors website.

Essential Househould Contents Grant

If you are uninsured, or unable to claim insurance, you may be eligible for financial assistance to provide a contribution towards replacing or repairing essential household contents, such as beds, linen and whitegoods, that have been lost or damaged in a disaster.

Grants of up to $1,765 for single adults and up to $5,300 for couples/families are available.

Structural Assistance Grant

If you’re uninsured, or unable to claim insurance, you may be eligible for a one-off payment as a contribution towards repairs to your home to make it secure and safe.

Grants of up to $10,995 for single adults and up to $14,685 for couples/families are available.

Essential Services Safety and Reconnection Grant

If you’re uninsured, or unable to claim insurance, you may be eligible for a grant to help you reconnect essential services that were damaged by a disaster.

There are 2 parts to the grant:

  1. Inspection: up to $200 towards a safety inspection for each essential service needing reconnection (electricity, gas, water and sewerage or septic system)
  2. Repair: up to $4200 towards repair work to enable essential services to be reconnected (for example, electrical rewiring).

The Victorian Government has today announced transport subsidies of up to $15,000 for primary producers (including apiarists) affected by bushfires across Victoria.

Support for QFED Volunteers

The Department of Housing and Public Works’ Volunteer Firefighters Compensation Package supports Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) volunteers, who have dedicated considerable personal time to respond to the 2019/2020 bushfires and incurred a financial loss of income as a result.

Eligible volunteers will receive up to $6000 in compensation if they have volunteered to firefight on a fire ground, or provided direct operational support, for more than 10 calendar days between 1 July 2019 and 30 June 2020.

A volunteer may only claim actual lost net (post-tax) income up to $300 per day, with the total claim not exceeding $6000.

Wildlife Carers Assistance Grants

The Wildlife Carers Assistance Grants will provide grants to wildlife care groups and individual carers to assist with their wildlife rescue and rehabilitation services.

Program guidelines and an application form will be available from 29 January 2020.

Register your interest by emailing csagrants@des.qld.gov.au or call the grant program office on 3330 6360.

South Australia

Re-establishment Grants up to $10,000 for Bushfire Residents

Eligible South Australians who are uninsured and have had their principal residence damaged by bushfires can apply for grants of up to $10,000 to help them re-establish their homes.

The payments can be used to help repair bushfire-damaged homes or replace essential household items.

For more information on eligibility please visit a relief centre or phone the SA Recovery Hotline on 1800 302 787 (8.00 am to 8.00 pm).

Small Business Bushfire Recovery Grant

The Department for Innovation and Skills (DIS) may provide grants of up to $10,000 to impacted small businesses and not-for-profit organisations in Cudlee Creek and Kangaroo Island for costs associated with clean-up, restoration and rebuilding.

Primary Producer Bushfire Recovery Rebate Grant

Primary Producers located within the Adelaide Hills and Kangaroo Island who have suffered direct damage from a bushfire disaster in 2019/20 may be eligible for a rebate of up to $15,000 for reimbursing reinstatement and clean-up costs from recent bushfire events.

Applications are open to primary producers in local government areas of:

  • Adelaide Hills
  • Kangaroo Island
  • Murray Bridge
  • Mount Barker

Western Australia

Department of Fire & Emergency Services financial assistance

There are a range of financial disaster relief measures available to assist individuals and communities recover from a disaster event. Visit the DFES website for more information relevant to your circumstances.

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