Bushfire Recovery - financial, legal & housing assistance for residents

Disaster relief for residents

The Federal Government has announced a series of measures to assist households impacted by the 2019-2020 bushfires (PDF 1.6MB), as well as specific measures for Indigenous residents (PDF 994KB).

Financial assistance

Australian Government - Disaster Recovery Allowance

Provides short-term support payments to assist people whose income has been affected as a direct result of bush fires. 
Call 180 22 66 or visit humanservices.gov.au.

Australian Government - Disaster Recovery Payment

You might be eligible if your home has been damaged by smoke - including your clothes, furniture or carpets.
Call 180 2266 or visit disasterassist.gov.au

NSW Government - Disaster Relief Grants

For residents whose homes and essential household contents have been damaged or destroyed by a natural disaster.

To be eligible for this assistance you must:

  • be a low-income earner and meet an income assets test,
  • demonstrate the affected home is your principal place of residence,
  • not be covered by insurance,
  • demonstrate that the damage was caused by the disaster,
  • lodge the application within four months of the disaster occurring

Contact the Disaster Welfare Assistance Line on 1800 018 444.

Replacing personal documents

Service NSW can help replace many of your personal documents free of charge if they were damaged or destroyed, including birth certificates, marriage certificates, licences and number plates. 
Visit your nearest NSW Service centre or call 13 77 88.

Housing assistance

The Department of Communities & Justice can provide:

  • temporary accommodation for up to 28 nights while impacted residents seek alternative longer- term arrangements
  • financial assistance through a repayable bond loan and a non-repayable advanced rent of two weeks

The Housing Contact Centre can help to provide housing support for up to three months to all people in urgent need of housing because of a natural disaster. All fire affected residents are eligible for this assistance.  Phone 1800 422 322. 

Motor Vehicle Stamp Duty Relief

If your car has been written off because of a natural disaster, you might be eligible for a stamp duty refund on your replacement vehicle. Refunds are made if the written off vehicle was comprehensively insured and the insurance doesn’t cover duty for a replacement vehicle.

For more information, contact the Office of State Revenue on 1300139814 or www.osr.nsw.gov.auInsurance

Insurance

If you are insured:

  • Talk to your insurance company as soon as possible about how to make a claim.
  • Take photos or video of damage to your property and possessions as evidence for your claim.
  • If you have clearance from your insurer and evidence for your claim, you can start cleaning up.
  • Your insurance company will arrange clean-up and removal of bushfire debris.

Contact the Insurance Council of Australia on 1800 734 621 if you have questions, complaints or concerns about insurance.

The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) provides free, fair and independent dispute resolution to people unable to resolve complaints directly with their insurance provider.

Phone 1800367287 or www.fos.org.au

If you are uninsured:

  • NSW Government Disaster Relief Grants are available for eligible individuals and families whose homes and essential household contents have been damaged or destroyed by a natural disaster.
  • Contact the Disaster Welfare Assistance Line on 1800 018 444.

Public Works Advisory can arrange for the clean-up and removal of bushfire debris from residences and immediately adjacent outbuildings, including removal of asbestos and concrete slabs.  Phone 1800 88 55 39

Legal assistance

Legal Aid NSW can provide free legal advice and minor assistance to people affected by disasters on a range of issues, including insurance, tenancy, credit and debt problems.

Call 1800 801 529 or visit legalaid.nsw.gov.au