Emergency Relief National Coordination Plan

The Australian Government is working closely with the emergency and food relief sectors nationally to ensure support is available to vulnerable individuals and families experiencing financial crisis throughout these unprecedented times.

Supporting service providers in responding to the coronavirus outbreak

On 29 March 2020, the Australian Government announced an additional $200 million (GST exclusive), through its Community Support Package, to support charities and other community organisations in responding to the coronavirus outbreak.

The additional funding is available over three financial years from 2019-20 to 2021-22. This is part of the $1.1 billion package to support mental health, Medicare and domestic violence services across Australia.

On 11 April 2020, the Minister for Families and Social Services and Minister for Women’s Safety, Senator the Hon Anne Ruston, announced $100 million of these funds would be immediately distributed to over 300 charities and community organisations Australia wide. This funding injection enabled an immediate ramp up in the provision of Emergency Relief and Food Relief nationally.

Since then, more than $60 million in further funding has been allocated in response to emerging needs. 

Further funds will be allocated based on advice from the sector-led National Coordination Group (NCG) and data around demand and unmet need.

Emergency and Food Relief

The Government is already investing more than $200 million over four and half years to 30 June 2023 for Emergency Relief and Food Relief support.  Additional funding under the Community Support Package has significantly increased the Government’s investment in these vital services, in recognition of the economic impacts of the coronavirus emergency for individuals and families throughout Australia.

Under the Community Support Package, over $61 million has been provided to the 196 existing Commonwealth-funded Emergency Relief providers to:

  • Source, retain and increase workforce capacity, including volunteers;
  • Implement and extend home delivery services;
  • Provide financial and material assistance to those who are at imminent risk of not being able to pay a bill.

The Australian Red Cross has also been provided $22 million to deliver Emergency Relief and counselling support to the most vulnerable temporary migrants.

In addition, the three Commonwealth-funded Food Relief providers, Foodbank Australia, SecondBite and OzHarvest, have been allocated a further $26.9 million to increase their workforce, food supplies, and transport options.

A full list of Commonwealth-funded Emergency Relief services can be found at serviceproviders.dss.gov.au. For local Emergency Relief providers search ‘Financial Crisis and Material Aid – Emergency Relief’ in the search function. Please note provider details are updated regularly, however, from time to time service providers change their service locations, which may result in the locational information not being current at the time of your search.

The National Coordination Group

The national coordination plan supports the identification and analysis of local, state and sector issues and needs, and oversees the implementation of emergency and food relief across the country.

To ensure there is a collaborative, timely and coordinated approach to Emergency Relief and Food Relief across Australia, a sector-led NCG has been established, with representatives from the Emergency Relief, Food Relief and Financial Counselling sectors, and the Department of Social Services (DSS).

The NCG is supported by sub-committees established in each state and territory.  The sub committees include representatives from Emergency Relief providers, state and territory governments and the National Indigenous Australians Agency.  These sub-committees provide regular updates to the NCG on emerging issues and trends.

In addition, a network of Government Area Coordinators has been established within DSS to work closely with providers to understand the situation on the ground through Australia, including identifying service gaps.  This real-time information is shared with the NCG to help inform their advice to Government.

The Government is working with the NCG to monitor the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and allocate further funding where it is most needed.

Representation on the National Coordination Group

The NCG is comprised of representatives from the following organisations:

  • Salvation Army Australia
  • St Vincent de Paul Society National Council 
  • Australian Red Cross
  • Anglicare Australia
  • UnitingCare Australia
  • Catholic Social Services Australia
  • Financial Counselling Australia
  • Foodbank Australia
  • Aboriginal Family Support Services
  • Wesley Mission
  • Volunteering Australia

For more information on the NCG, visit the National Coordination Group page.

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