If you are in immediate danger, please call Triple Zero (000)

Response so far

The Australian Government has announced a range of measures as part of the National Bushfire Recovery Agency’s response to aid the recovery of bushfire ravaged communities.

Assistance for Individuals and Families

Disaster Recovery Payment One-off payment of $1,000 per adult / $800 ($400 disaster recovery payment + additional $400 payment for educational expenses) per child younger than 16.
Disaster Recovery Allowance – Payments of up to the maximum rate of Newstart or Youth Allowance, for up to 13 weeks.
Emergency Relief – Providing $40 million primarily to St Vincent de Paul Society and the Salvation Army to deliver emergency relief to bushfire affected communities, such as food parcels, clothing, vouchers and cash payments.
Expanded Financial Counselling Additional $10 million will be invested in financial counselling to deliver services in affected areas including extra support for the National Debt Helpline and increased funding for locally based providers in bush fire affected areas to deliver face-to-face services including through outreach.
Payment and lodgment extensions for Tax Liabilities – Automatic extra time to pay your debt or lodge tax forms such as activity statements.
School support – 25 mental health liaison officers to work with local schools and early childhood services in bushfire-affected communities, facilitated through Beyond Blue.
Child Care Subsidy activity test debt exemption – Exemption from any Child Care Subsidy (CCS) activity test debt for this financial year.
Defence bases open to evacuees – Bases from Brisbane to Adelaide opened for evacuees.

Health

Provision of 3.5 million P2 masks – From the National Medical Stockpile to state and territory governments, Australia Post, Defence and the AFP to ensure the safety of people in bushfire-affected areas
Ten free mental health support sessions Front line emergency distress and trauma counselling will be available immediately, with up to 10 free mental health support sessions for individuals, families and emergency services personnel.
Medicare rebates for ten additional psychological therapy sessions Bushfire affected individuals and families, and emergency response personnel eligible to receive Medicare rebates for up to 10 psychological therapy sessions. Psychological therapy sessions via telehealth will also be available to people in fire affected rural areas.
Additional headspace services in areas Up to an additional $300 000 to ensure that young people can get support when they need it.

Australian Defence Force assistance

Significant Defence Personnel Contribution – ADF personnel have been assisting since September 2019. More than 6,500 ADF personnel are providing direct support in the field, at sea, in the air and from Defence bases – including around 3,000 reservists.

Assistance for small business, primary producers and the tourism industry

Grant and concessional loan support for affected Small Businesses – Including top-up grant funding up to $50,000, concessional loans up to $500,000.
Dedicated, single contact point for small business – The Support Line will be staffed by small business specialist financial counsellors who will be able to provide information on the assistance and support available to small businesses in bushfire affected regions.
$75,000 Assistance to primary producers – Grants of up to $75,000 to primary producers to assist in responding to the impacts of bushfires.
Additional 60 rural financial counsellors – $15 million to fund 60 more rural financial counsellors and support workers to assist primary producers on their path to recovery, over the next two years.
Tourism support package – $20 million for a nationally coordinated domestic marketing initiative, $25 million for a global marketing campaign, $10 million for a regional tourism events initiative for bushfire-affected regions, $6.5 million to support tourism business’ attendance at the Australian Tourism Exchange, and $5 million for the diplomatic network to educate people that Australia is open for business.

Local Government (including clean-up)

$60 million for severely impacted Local Government Areas – Immediate $1 million payments to 43 affected LGAs – with $17 million remaining for top-up payments to impacted Local Government Areas.
Sharing the costs of the clean-up – 50:50 split on the costs of the clean-up.

Wildlife protection and habitat restoration

Down-payment protecting wildlife and restoring habitat – $50 million package working with scientists and communities to plan longer-term restoration effort.

Firefighters and volunteers

Payments for volunteer firefighters – Up to $300 per day for lost income (up to $6,000 per person) for eligible volunteers. Currently available for NSW and QLD volunteer firefighters – administered through State Governments. Payments for other States available on request.
Paid leave for Australian Public Service employees volunteering as part of the emergency services response – At least 20 working days paid leave for volunteers aiding with firefighting efforts.

Aerial Firefighting

$20 million to lease four additional aerial firefighting planes – $20 million to lease four extra planes to meet a request from the National Aerial Firefighting Centre (NAFC) for one extra plane – and bringing the total Australian Government funding to NAFC this financial year to nearly $46 million.