Media release: Update on Australian Government support for bushfire affected regions
The Hon Stuart Robert MP
- Over $68 million provided in Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment and Disaster Recovery Allowance to declared Local Government Areas with more than 57,000 claims processed since 16 September 2019.
- More than $10.9 million in additional payments have been paid to eligible families affected by the bushfires.
- Services available this long weekend:
- Disaster Payments Hotline between 8am to 5pm local time - 180 22 66
- Mobile Service Teams and Mobile Service Centres will be in affected bushfire regions.
- Fastest way to claim disaster payments is to call 180 22 66.
Since the additional disaster payments for families were activated on Monday 20 January, Services Australia has processed more than 27,000 extra payments for children in bushfire affected regions, worth $10.9 million.
The Additional Payment for Children is a one-off amount of $400 for families for each child eligible for the Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment (AGDRP).
People who are the principal carer for a child and get the AGDRP payment this financial year will automatically get the additional payment for children.
Minister for Government Services Stuart Robert, said the additional $400 per child is helping families with the immediate cost of replacing essential items.
‘Bushfire affected families will have seen the additional payment hit their bank account this week, with retrospective payments for families that received AGDRP prior to 20 January 2020 already processed and paid into bank accounts automatically,’ Mr Robert said.
‘These payments are delivering timely extra support to families facing back to school expenses while they are still recovering from the impact of the fires.
‘The Australian Government has also recognised the significant economic impact the bushfires have had for people.
‘The extra financial assistance is backed up by face to face support being provided by hardworking Services Australia staff deployed to communities right across the fire zones.’
Services Australia has mobilised and rapidly deployed Mobile Service Teams (MSTs) and Mobile Service Centres (MSCs) to get support to bushfire affected communities in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.
As at 22 January, there have been 272 deployments of MSTs and MSCs in bushfire affected communities in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.
In the past two weeks the two Mobile Service Centres have provided compassionate guidance and support to more than 1,200 people and the Mobile Service Teams have also assisted more than 3,000 people.
This weekend, further support will be provided in the form of extended operations of the Services Australia disaster hotline (180 22 66), which will be open from 8am to 5pm local time over the long weekend and 8am to 8pm local time Tuesday to Friday.
The Disaster Payments hotline continues to deliver immediate disaster payments to impacted Australians with over $68 million provided in Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payments (AGDRP) and Disaster Recovery Allowance (DRA) to declared Local Government Areas. Staff have answered over 106,000 calls and processed over 57,000 claims for disaster payments.
Operation of MSTs and MSCs remain subject to ongoing assessment of conditions. Stay up to date with service changes at: humanservices.gov.au/disaster
All Centrelink service centres are open today (24 January 2020). Check for closures at findus.humanservices.gov.au
For more information on support available go to humanservices.gov.au/disaster