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Assistance for bushfire affected communities

8 January 2020

We're here to help.

We know the road to recovery will be long. Our agents 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 your local Elders Insurance agent 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 outlined a range of state and federal government disaster assistance services available to local communities. Although this list may not be exhaustive 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 Australian Government has made available an additional $40 million of funding assistance 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. For information on eligibility and to access the fund please contact:

  • Salvation Army Disasters Assistance Team on 1300 662 217
  • St Vincent de Paul Bushfire Assistance Hotline on 13 18 12

Removal of debris

The Victorian, New South Wales and South Australian governments have announced they will fund the removal of debris for both insured and uninsured residential and commercial properties destroyed by the bushfires, so communities can start rebuilding as soon as possible. The schemes will include hazardous and non-hazardous materials.

To begin the process, please register for this service as soon as possible. Information relevant to each state is available in the links below.

Once registered, you will be contacted by the assigned Government contractor to arrange a site inspection to agree on what is, and what isn’t, to be removed. Following the completion of the works, you will receive a completion certificate. Elders Insurance is committed to pass on any benefit that is received from the scheme to our customers, meaning you will receive the full benefit of your insurance policy.

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 Australian 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 Australian 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 the bushfires. These organisations can access up to $50,000 in grant funding (tax free).
  • Also available are 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.
  • Click here for more information or call the dedicated small businesses hotline on 13 28 45

Tax obligations release

Taxpayers in bushfire 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 Helpline
The National Debt Helpline is a not-for-profit service that helps Australians tackle their dbet problems.

  • This free, confidential service is delivered by professional financial counsellors.
  • Visit the NDH website for information about how to deal with the financial difficulty that can arises following a bushfire or call the helpline on 1800 007 007 

Mental health services

Extra funding is available for anyone experiencing distress as a result of the bushfires. For immediate distress and trauma support, please contact Services Australia on 180 22 66 or visit Primary Health Network to locate local primary health service.

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 Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for more information.

Banks and other financial institutions

If you have been impacted by the recent bushfires please contact your bank or financial institution to access a wide range of help, including deferring loan payments, waiving fees and consolidating debts. 

Energy companies

Many energy companies have indicated they can provide assistance to individuals who have been affected by the recent bushfires. This could include bill credits, waiving debt, or advice on accessing government assistance. Please contact your energy provider for further 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 NSW State Government and Federal Government through the NSW Government’s recently established 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 documents 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:

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. 


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

Information for landholders with bushfire damaged fences
Department of Environment, Land Water and Planning (DELWP)

Call 136 186 (Monday to Friday, 8:00am to 6:00pm) to discuss:

  • Help available to landholders in bushfire-affected communities to repair damaged or destroyed fences between private land and National Parks, VIC State Parks and VIC State Forests.
  • The Victorian 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.


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 contact your local Elders Insurance agent.


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