Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme
Minister for Government Services

Media release: On-the-ground support for Western Australians affected by bushfires

5 February 2021

The Hon Stuart Robert MP
Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme
Minister for Government Services

The Hon Christian Porter MP
Member for Pearce

The Hon Ken Wyatt MP
Member for Hasluck

 

  • Services Australia staff have joined Western Australian state services to offer on the ground government assistance at three bushfire evacuation centres.
  • Australian Government Mobile Service Centre Desert Rose has been deployed and will arrive in Western Australia early next week to provide additional support.
  • The fastest way to claim disaster payments is to call 180 22 66.
  • As at midnight 4 February, almost $100,000 has already been paid in Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payments (AGDRP) and Disaster Recovery Allowance (DRA) in the two declared Local Government Areas.
  • Services Australia processed more than 90 claims on the first day assistance was made available (February 4).

Services Australia staff have mobilised and are providing immediate on-the-ground support to people affected by the Western Australian bushfires.

The Australian Government Mobile Service Centre Desert Rose has also been deployed from Western Victoria to provide additional assistance from early next week.

Minister for Government Services Stuart Robert said the Services Australia Mobile Service Teams located at Midvale, Beechboro and Swan View evacuation centres have already supported more than 66 people to claim Australian Government disaster payments.

‘The fastest way to claim is still through calling 180 22 66. However, I directed Services Australia staff to be on the ground so people can access critical services with skilled staff who can provide advice about all support available,’ Minister Robert said.

‘We know that a key aspect to supporting communities through a crisis is enabling simple and easy access to government services which is why the Mobile Service Teams include social workers who are providing additional support and assistance. Our specialist staff will continue to be available over the weekend and next week to help with disaster assistance

‘Services Australia staff have the necessary technology and reliable internet connectivity to provide immediate on‑the‑spot assistance.’

Member for Pearce Christian Porter said the Services Australia staff are a welcome support during a difficult time for residents in Perth’s north-eastern fringe.

‘As well as acknowledging Services Australia staff who have gone into evacuation centres I would also like to pass on a heartfelt thank you to our hundreds of firefighters from around the state who have worked so hard to keep our community safe,’ he said.

Member for Hasluck Ken Wyatt said the Federal Government’s supports were delivering much needed immediate relief to hard-hit communities.

‘Once activated, the Federal Government’s disaster payments are administered by Services Australia. Do not self-assess. Get in contact with Services Australia to make sure you receive the assistance you are entitled to,’ he said.

Both local members encouraged residents to stay up-to-date with and heed the advice of emergency responders.

In response to the scale of last year’s bushfire emergency, Services Australia worked over a number of months to build kits of equipment that can be rapidly deployed to communities in the event of an emergency.

‘These kits mean we had everything needed to get a recovery operation up and running quickly, including IT equipment, phones, signage, information resources, and personal protective gear,’ Minister Robert said.

‘Services Australia staff are rapidly processing claims with many people getting the money they need within a matter of hours.  

‘Already the Australian Government has provided almost $100,000 in Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payments (AGDRP) and Disaster Recovery Allowance (DRA) to more than 90 West Australians affected by these bushfires.

Services Australia emergency assistance telephone line is open every day from 8am to 5pm AWST, including this weekend.

For more information on support available, go to www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/disaster.

Background Information

The Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment (AGDRP) provides a one-off lump sum of $1,000 for eligible adults and $400 for each eligible child under the age of 16.

AGDRP is available to eligible people whose homes have been severely damaged, or destroyed, or who have been seriously injured as a direct result of the fires.

People can also claim Disaster Recovery Allowance (DRA), which is a short-term payment to help those who have lost income as a direct result of a declared disaster. This is available for up to 13 weeks, starting from the date you lose income.

Page last updated: 5 February 2021