Media release: Support mobilised to help bushfire communities
The Hon Stuart Robert MP
Emergency financial assistance is now available for people severely affected by the latest wave of bushfires currently burning in Northern NSW.
This includes the Local Government Areas of Glen Innes Severn, Kempsey, Mid Coast, Nambucca, Port Macquarie-Hastings and Walcha.
The Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payments (AGDRP) provides a one-off lump sum of $1,000 for eligible adults and $400 for each eligible child under the age of 16.
The payment is available to people whose homes have been severely damaged or destroyed, who have been seriously injured or who have lost a family member in the fires.
Minister for Government Services Stuart Robert encouraged affected residents to lodge a claim for assistance.
‘The fastest way to claim is over the phone by calling the Australian Government Emergency Information Line on 180 22 66,’ Minister Robert said.
‘Staff from my department are ready and waiting to begin processing claims as quickly as possible to ensure people have money available to meet their immediate needs.
‘The impact of these fires continues to be devastating. Hundreds of people, including staff from my department, have been evacuated and many have lost their homes and businesses.
‘The department’s Mobile Service Centres, Desert Rose and Golden Wattle, have been diverted to assist people on the ground in some of the worst hit areas.
‘Over the next week, the two Mobile Service Centres will travel through communities in Northern NSW and South East Queensland to provide support with payments and services, wherever access is possible.
‘At this stage, all of the department’s service centres will open as normal tomorrow, however we urge people to heed local emergency services warnings and not to travel unless it is safe to do so.’
The Government has also extended the Disaster Recovery Allowance (DRA) providing eligible applicants up to 13 weeks income support.
For bushfires occurring in August, September, October and November 2019 in New South Wales, the local government areas eligible for:
AGDRP are Armidale, Clarence Valley, Glen Innes Severn, Kempsey, Mid Coast, Nambucca, Port Macquarie-Hastings, Richmond Valley, Tenterfield and Walcha,
DRA are Armidale, Bellingen, Clarence Valley, Coffs Harbour, Glen Innes Severn, Kempsey, Inverell, Mid Coast, Nambucca, Port Macquarie-Hastings, Richmond Valley, Tenterfield, Uralla and Walcha
The department’s phone lines are open 8:00am to 8:00pm, local time Monday to Friday. For more information on support available visit www.humanservices.gov.au/disaster
People can keep up to date with any service changes via the Human Services website: www.humanservices.gov.au/servicechanges