Bushfire information and support
The Department of Social Services national, state and territory offices across the country are all currently open.
The department is supporting individuals and communities affected by the bushfires through a range of programs and services:
- Emergency relief
- Financial counselling
- Cashless Debit Card
- Support for carers
- National Disability Advocacy Program
- Domestic and family violence
People affected by the bushfires can claim disaster payments by calling Services Australia (Centrelink) on 180 22 66 and find more information at www.humanservices.gov.au/disaster. As soon as it is safe to do so, Mobile Service Centres will head into affected regions to assist with all Government payment services, including disaster payments.
Emergency relief offers immediate financial and/or material support to people in financial crisis. Support may include:
- food parcels or clothing
- vouchers for food, transport or the chemist
- part-payment of utility account/s
- budgeting assistance.
If you, or someone you know needs emergency relief call:
- Salvation Army Disasters Assistance hotline 1300 662 217 (Monday to Friday 8am-4pm)
- St Vincent de Paul emergency relief assistance hotline 13 18 12 (Monday to Friday 9am-5pm).
A full list of Commonwealth funded emergency relief services can be found at serviceproviders.dss.gov.au.
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
If you are a Cashless Debit Card participant in an area impacted by bushfires you can call the hotline on 1800 252 604 (Monday to Friday 9am-6pm AEDT) to discuss your situation and work out a plan to help support you.
Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centres are a national network that link to carer support services and help them with options for short-term and emergency respite.
Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centres continue to provide unplanned short term and emergency respite services for carers eligible for support, including carers of National Disability Insurance Scheme participants. You might be able to get emergency respite care at short notice if you suddenly find you can’t provide care. If you need emergency respite care, talk with your local Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centre on 1800 052 222 (or 1800 059 059 after hours).
Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centres also offer phone-based counselling providing short-term emotional and psychological support in your caring role. The Counselling Service is a free confidential service available Monday to Friday, 8am-6pm, with professional counsellors available to talk through any concerns you may have.
If you are a carer, information on planning for emergencies is available on the Carer Gateway website to support you during the bushfire season.
Alternatively, contact the Carers Association in your state or territory to see what services are available through the Carers Association Contact us web page or phone 1800 242 636 (Monday to Friday 9am-5pm).
The Carer Gateway Community Forum is available to assist carers to connect with other carers and share their stories, knowledge and experience with others. Please visit the Carer Gateway website.
The National Disability Advocacy Program provides people with disability with effective disability advocacy that promotes, protects and ensures their human rights, which can be of heightened concern during times of crisis. Visit the Disability Advocacy Finder for more information.
If you or someone you know is in danger call the police on 000. Police in Australia are safe and can be trusted. For free, confidential counselling and information call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 (available 24 hours). If you need a free interpreter call 131 450 (available 24 hours).
If you are currently receiving a grant, payment milestones and reporting timeframes may be adjusted to reflect individual circumstances. If you have any concerns or queries please contact your funding agreement manager.