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NSW Bushfires: 31 August 2019 onwards

NSW Bushfires: 31 August 2019 onwards

Financial support for volunteer firefighters

Volunteer firefighters will be able to access financial support for loss of income, where they have been called out for extended periods of service.

Rural Fire Service Volunteers in NSW who are self-employed or work for small and medium businesses (businesses with a turnover of less than $50 million in the 2018-19 financial year), and who have been called out for more than 10 days this fire season, will be able to apply for the payments.

The payments will provide for lost income of up to $300 per day up to a total of up to $6,000 per person.

The payments are only available to NSW residents who have volunteered with a recognised NSW fire-fighting organisation. To be eligible, an individual must have been volunteering as part of an operational response to bushfires for more than 10 days since 1 July 2019. This can include reasonable travel and recovery time but does not include training or participating in non-emergency operations (for example, hazard reduction burns). An individual will not be able to claim loss of income if they still have appropriate paid leave available to them from their employer. Appropriate paid leave does not include paid annual recreational or sick leave.

These payments are tax free and will not be means-tested. The payments are in addition to any other forms of disaster support an individual may be eligible for.

The payments will be administered by the NSW Government.

Payments are expected to be available before the end of January 2020.

Information on how to apply for assistance will be made available soon.

Rural Fire Service Volunteers in NSW can register their interest at: NSW Government website.

Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment

The Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment (AGDRP) provides one-off financial assistance to eligible Australians adversely affected by the bushfires.

The rate of AGDRP is $1000 per eligible adult and $400 per eligible child. Claims for this payment can be lodged with the Department of Human Services for a period up to six months.

AGDRP is available for people who have been seriously injured, have lost their homes or whose homes have been directly damaged, or are the immediate family members of a person who has died, as a direct result of the bushfires.

You have until 4 August 2020 to lodge a claim for AGDRP in the thirty two (32) the local government areas of Armidale, Bega Valley, Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Cessnock, Clarence Valley, Coffs Harbour, Eurobodalla, Glen Innes Severn, Goulburn Mulwaree, Greater Hume, Hawkesbury, Kempsey, Inverell, Kyogle, Lismore, Lithgow, Mid-Coast, Mid-Western, Nambucca, Oberon, Port Macquarie-Hastings, Queanbeyan-Palerang, Richmond Valley, Shoalhaven, Singleton, Snowy Monaro, Snowy Valleys, Tenterfield, Tweed, Upper Lachlan, Walcha, Wingecarribee and Wollondilly.

For more information on eligibility, visit the Department of Human Services website or contact the Australian Government Information Hotline on 180 22 66 for claims assistance.

New Zealand ex-gratia disaster recovery payment

An ex-gratia payment is being provided to eligible New Zealand 'non-protected' special category visa (SCV) (subclass 444) holders who have been adversely affected by the bushfires.

The payment rate is $1000 per eligible adult, $1,000 per partner or dependent adult and $400 per eligible child. Claims for this payment can be lodged with the Department of Human Services for a period of six months.

The payment is available for SCV holders who have been seriously injured, have lost their homes or whose homes have been directly damaged, or are the immediate family members of a person who has died, as a direct result of the bushfires.

You have until 4 August 2020 to lodge a claim for the ex-gratia disaster recovery payment in the thirty two (32) local government areas of Armidale, Bega Valley, Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Cessnock, Clarence Valley,Coffs Harbour, Eurobodalla, Glen Innes Severn, Goulburn Mulwaree, Greater Hume, Hawkesbury, Kempsey, Inverell, Kyogle, Lismore, Lithgow, Mid-Coast, Mid-Western, Nambucca, Oberon, Port Macquarie-Hastings, Queanbeyan-Palerang, Richmond Valley, Shoalhaven, Singleton, Snowy Monaro, Snowy Valleys, Tenterfield, Tweed, Upper Lachlan, Walcha, Wingecarribee and Wollondilly.

For eligibility information, visit the Department of Human Services website or contact the Australian Government Information Hotline on 180 22 66 for claims assistance.

Disaster Recovery Allowance

The Disaster Recovery Allowance (DRA) provides income support payments to employees, primary producers and sole traders who can demonstrate they have experienced a loss of income as a direct result of the bushfires.

DRA provides fortnightly payments for up to 13 weeks up to the applicable rate of Newstart or Youth Allowance, depending on the person's circumstances.

DRA is available to Australian residents who are sixteen years and older.

DRA is not available to those already receiving another income support payment or pension such as the Age Pension, Newstart Allowance or Service Pension.

You have until 4 August 2020 to lodge a claim for DRA in the forty-six (46) local government areas of Armidale, Ballina, Bega Valley, Bellingen, Blue Mountains, Byron, Central Coast, Cessnock, Clarence Valley, Coffs Harbour, Cootamundra Gundagai, Eurobodalla, Glen Innes Severn, Greater Hume, Gwydir, Hawkesbury, Inverell, Kempsey, Ku-ring-gai, Kyogle, Lake Macquarie, Lismore, Lithgow, Mid-Coast, Mid-Western, Muswellbrook, Nambucca, Narrabri, Oberon, Penrith, Port Macquarie-Hastings, Queanbeyan-Palerang , Richmond Valley, Shoalhaven, Singleton, Snowy Monaro, Snowy Valleys, Sutherland, Tamworth, Tenterfield, Tweed, Upper Hunter, Upper Lachlan, Uralla, Walcha, Wagga Wagga, Wingecarribee and Wollondilly.

For eligibility information, visit the Department of Human Services website or contact the Australian Government Information Hotline on 180 22 66 for claims for assistance.

New Zealand ex-gratia income support allowance

An ex-gratia income support allowance is available to eligible New Zealand 'non-protected' special category visa (SCV) (subclass 444) holders who can demonstrate they have experienced a loss of income as a direct result of the bushfires.

The income support allowance provides fortnightly payments for up to 13 weeks up to the applicable rate of Newstart or Youth Allowance, depending on the person's circumstances.

The allowance is available to SCV holders who are sixteen years and older.

You have until 4 August 2020 to lodge a claim for the ex-gratia income support allowance in the forty-six (46) local government areas of Armidale, Ballina, Bellingen, Bega Valley, Blue Mountains, Byron, Central Coast, Cessnock, Clarence Valley, Coffs Harbour, Cootamundra Gundagai, Eurobodalla, Glen Innes Severn,  Goulburn Mulwaree, Greater Hume, Gwydir, Hawkesbury, Inverell, Kempsey, Ku-ring-gai, Kyogle, Lake Macquarie, Lismore, Lithgow, Mid-Coast, Mid-Western, Muswellbrook, Nambucca, Narrabri, Oberon, Penrith, Port Macquarie-Hastings, Queanbeyan-Palerang, Richmond Valley, Shoalhaven, Singleton, Snowy Monaro, Snowy Valleys, Sutherland, Tamworth, Tenterfield, Tweed, Upper Hunter, Upper Lachlan, Uralla, Walcha, Wagga Wagga, Wingecarribee and Wollondilly.

For more information on eligibility, visit the Department of Human Services website or contact the Australian Government Information Hotline on 180 22 66 for claims assistance.

Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements

The joint Australian, state and territory government Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA) provide a range of financial assistance to the natural disaster-declared areas in each state or territory.

For the bushfires which impacted the forty-nine (49) local government areas of Armidale, Ballina, Bega Valley, Bellingen, Blue Mountains, Byron, Central Coast, Cessnock, Clarence Valley, Coffs Harbour, Cootamundra-Gundagai, Eurobodalla, Glen Innes Severn, Greater Hume, Goulburn Mulwaree, Gwydir, Hawkesbury, Inverell, Kempsey, Ku-ring-gai, Kyogle, Lake Macquarie, Lismore, Lithgow, Mid-Coast, Mid-Western, Muswellbrook, Nambucca, Narrabri, Oberon, Penrith, Port Macquarie Hastings, Queanbeyan-Palerang, Richmond Valley, Shoalhaven, Singleton, Snowy Monaro, Snowy Valleys, Sutherland, Tamworth, Tenterfield, Tweed, Upper Hunter, Upper Lachlan, Uralla, Walcha, Wagga Wagga, Wingecarribee and Wollondilly from 31 August 2019 onwards, the available assistance measures include:

  • Personal hardship and distress assistance
  • Counter disaster operations
  • Restoration of essential public assets
  • Concessional interest rate loans for small businesses, primary producers and non-profit organisations
  • Freight subsidies
  • Grants to non-profit organisations.

Community Recovery Fund and Recovery Grants

A Community Recovery Fund (CRF) has been activated to further assist bushfire affected communities. Funding is available for a range of measures including targeted community projects and mental health support.

Recovery grants of up to $75,000 are available for eligible primary producers and up to $50,000 for small businesses, and non-profit organisations.

The CRF and recovery grants are available in the forty-nine (49) local government areas of Armidale, Ballina, Bega Valley, Bellingen,  Blue Mountains, Byron, Central Coast, Cessnock, Clarence Valley, Coffs Harbour, Cootamundra-Gundagai, Eurobodalla, Glen Innes Severn, Greater Hume, Gouldburn Mulwaree, Gwydir, Hawkesbury, Inverell, Kempsey, Ku-ring-gai, Kyogle, Lake Macquarie, Lismore, Lithgow, Mid-Coast, Mid-Western, Muswellbrook, Nambucca, Narribri, Oberon, Penrith, Port Macquarie-Hastings, Queanbeyan-Palerang, Richmond Valley, Shoalhaven, Singleton, Snowy Monaro, Snowy Valleys, Sutherland, Tamworth, Tenterfield, Tweed, Upper Hunter, Upper Lachlan, Uralla, Walcha, Wagga Wagga, Wingecarribee and Wollondilly.

For information on available recovery assistance, Contact the Bushfire Customer Care service on 13 77 88, or visit https://www.service.nsw.gov.au/

For further information on recovery arrangements, visit the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements 2018 page.

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.​​