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Assistance for Volunteer Firefighters Affected by Bushfires factsheet

As at 5 March 2020

Volunteer Payment

The Australian Government is supporting volunteers this fire season with payments of up to $300 per day, with a total cap of $6000. The payments are tax-free and not means tested.

NSW, TAS, SA and QLD are participating in this program and there are ongoing discussions to put in place the same arrangements with other states.

Application for payments may be submitted until up to 31 July 2020, or 1 July 2020 for South Australian applicants. 

Eligibility criteria is different in each state, for more information contact your relevant state authority:

Paid Leave

Commonwealth public servants who volunteer with state rural fire services are now able to access a minimum of four weeks (20 days) of paid emergency services leave to work on the front lines separate to their regular annual and sick leave arrangements.

Mental Health Support

Front line emergency distress and trauma counselling is available now. You can access up to to 10 free mental health support sessions as an individual, family or emergency service personnel.

Contact your GP to find mental health support in your local area that meets your needs.

For immediate support, you can contact:

Lifeline Australia 13 11 14 | www.lifeline.org.au.

Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800 | www.kidshelpline.com.au.

New assistance measures have been introduced including free distress and trauma counselling sessions (available for individuals and families and emergency services personnel affected by bushfires). You can be connected to this free counselling through:

  • Recovery centres and evacuation centres
  • Mental health services commissioned by Primary Health Networks (PHNs)
  • Existing mental health counselling hotlines, including Lifeline and Kids Helpline

Bushfire affected individuals and families, and emergency response personnel will also be eligible to receive Medicare rebates for up to 10 psychological therapy sessions through GPs, psychologists and other mental health professionals. To find out more about the services please speak to your GP, or visit www.health.gov.au

Other Financial Assistance

State governments are providing financial assistance to individuals and families affected by the bushfires, including eligible volunteer firefighters.   

Financial hardship

If you are experiencing financial hardship, you can talk with a financial counsellor or find a financial counsellor near you.

Call the free National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007 (Monday to Friday 9:30am-4:30pm) or visit www.ndh.org.au

Visit www.moneysmart.gov.au for other financial help available to support you after a bushfire.

Key contacts

National

Contact name Contact number
Disaster Recovery Payment and Allowance 180 22 66
National Debt Helpline 1800 007 007
Salvation Army Disasters Assistance 1300 662 217
St Vincent de Paul bushfire assistance team 13 18 12
Lifeline - Bushfire Recovery Hotline 13 43 57
Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800

NSW

Contact name Contact number
Service NSW 13 77 88
NSW Bushfire Clean-Up Assistance 1800 885 539

VIC

Contact name Contact number
Vic Emergency Hotline 1800 226 226
Bushfire Recovery Victoria 1800 560 760

SA

Contact name Contact number

SA recovery hotline

Volunteer Firefighter Payment

1800 302 787

1300 364 587

QLD

Contact name Contact number
QLD disaster and alerts 132 500
QLD Volunteer Firefighter Payment 1800 268 462