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Bushfire Recovery Information

Updated 21/02/2020 at 3:30pm.

The NSW Government has set up a bushfire customer care service to help people and businesses affected by bushfire. Customers are offered ongoing support to navigate the recovery process by a Service NSW customer care specialist. In addition, a Business Concierge has been set up specifically to help small business operators.

Customers are encouraged to call Service NSW on 13 77 88, see a customer care specialist in a Bushfire Recovery Centre, Service NSW Centre or Mobile Service Centre, or go to service.nsw.gov.au

More information: 

Read the  Bushfire recovery clean-up factsheet111KB pdf(PDF, 111KB) provided by NSW Government

Read the  Frequently Asked Questions on bushfire recovery property clearing106KB pdf(PDF, 106KB) provided by the NSW Government 

Support services and recovery advice is available from the key agencies listed below:

Watch the Wauchope Community Recovery Meeting Facebook live stream, held on 28 November 2019. 

Watch the Wauchope Community Recovery Meeting Facebook live stream, held on 16 December 2019. 

Disaster relief for individuals

Australian Government - Disaster Recovery Allowance - Call 180 2266 or visit humanservices.gov.au
This allowance provides a short term support payment to assist people whose income has been affected as a direct result of the bushfires.   

Australian Government - Disaster Recovery Payment - Call 180 2266 or visit disasterassist.gov.au
If your home has been damaged by smoke - including your clothes, furniture or carpets - you may be eligible for this payment. 

NSW Government - Disaster Relief Grants - Call 1800 018 444
Grants are available for eligible individuals and families whose homes and essential household contents have been damaged or destroyed by a natural disaster.

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

Legal assistance - Call 5525 1600 (Port Macquarie office) or visit legalaid.nsw.gov.au
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. 

Salvation Army - Call 1300 662 217
Support is available for those who have lost their homes or lost the means of earning their income. You can also email sal.disasters@salvationarmy.org.au

Red Cross Emergency Grant - visit redcross.org.au/grants
Grants are available to people whose primary place of residence has been destroyed or rendered uninhabitable because of a bushfire since 1 July 2019. 

Disaster relief for landholders

Rural Resilience Program - Call Peter Brown (Taree office) 0437 671 459.
This program can provide support by way of referrals, liaising with other services and delivering initiatives tailored to the particular need of the community.

Primary Producer Grants - Call the Rural Assistance Authority on 1800 678 593.
Grants of up to $15,000 are available for bushfire affected primary producers. Eligibility criteria apply. Applications can be made to the Rural Assistance Authority. Find out more at www.raa.nsw.gov.au/disaster-assistance/disaster-recovery-grants

Animal welfare - Call the Agriculture and Animal Services Hotline on 1800 814 647.
Local Land Services can assist with: Emergency fodder, Stock water, Assessment of animals impacted by the fire. Landholders are also encouraged report damage to property, including any stock losses. Visit www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/rrp

NSW Rural Assistance Authority -  Call 1800 678 593.
Disaster relief low interest loans of up to $130,000 are available to eligible primary producers and small businesses, and transport subsidies of up to 50% of the cost to transport livestock or fodder, to eligible primary producers.

Small business support

Small Business Grants - Call the Rural Assistance Authority on 1800 678 593 or visit www.raa.nsw.gov.au 
Grants of up to $15,000 are available if your business has been directly affected by bushfire. Eligibility criteria apply. Applications can be made to the Rural Assistance Authority (RAA). 

Business Connect - Call 1300 134 359 or register at industry.nsw.gov.au/businessconnect 
A free mobile advisory service is available to small businesses. A local advisor can meet you at a convenient place and discuss your business needs. Advice is offered about managing cash flow, planning the next steps, accessing financial support schemes and connecting to additional support.

Dispute Resolution Service - Call 1300 795 534 or visit smallbusiness.nsw.gov.au/dispute-resolution
A confidential and free dispute resolution service has been set up to help small businesses needing assistance to work through problems with other businesses or government. 

General information for Regional NSW
Information, advice and assistance is available for people managing a business, including business tools to analyse profitability and prepare for export. Call (02) 6760 2670 or visit nsw.gov.au/improving-nsw/regional-nsw

Communications Guide for local businesses - still open for business
This communications guide has been provided for the tourism industry operators within Port Macquarie-Hastings to provide advice on communicating to visitors that they are still open for business. View the  communications guide here297KB pdf(PDF, 297KB)

Get back to business - a guide to recovering from disaster
A resource provided by The NSW Small Business Commission, this step by step guide provides information for business owners on dealing with a disaster.  View Get back to business - a guide to recovering from disaster.

 Support for fire affected small business fact sheet131KB pdf(PDF, 131KB)

Housing assistance

Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) Housing can offer temporary accommodation, as well as interest-free bond loans and advance rent to eligible fire-impacted residents. 
Call the Housing Contact Centre on 1800 422 322 (available 24/7) for more information.

Local housing assistance - Community Housing Limited 1300 245 468 
Level 1, 16 Clarence Street
(PO Box 837)
Port Macquarie NSW 2444

Insurance Assistance

If your property is insured, continue to work with your insurer on the clean-up. If you have concerns about your insurer, contact the Insurance Council of Australia on 1800 734 621.

If you are uninsured, contact Public Works Advisory on 1800 88 55 39 to discuss the clean-up. 

You can also call the Disaster Welfare Assistance Line on 1800 018 444.

Community recovery information newsletters

The below newsletters are being distributed by the NSW Office of Emergency Management and contain vital information on clean up assistance, insurance assistance, grants information, points of contact for loss and damage to property. Click the newsletter to download.

Community Support

 Australian Red Cross - Disaster Recovery Mentors366KB pdf(PDF, 366KB)

 Lifeline - Getting through Flood, Drought and Extreme Climate Events Tool Kit.1MB pdf(PDF, 1MB) Lifeline helpline is 13 43 57.

Additional Information

Council is continuing to support the Emergency Services agencies and Rural Fire Service (RFS) who are leading the bushfire control effort. It’s important that you access emergency information straight from the source.  Below are the key organisations and contact details to help you do this.

The Rural Fire Service provides regular updates via:

Maintaining your health

The following free services are available to people impacted by fires and drought. No GP referral is needed.

  • Northern NSW - Connect to Wellbeing on 1300 160 339

It’s completely normal to experience a range of emotions after a fire, including anxiety, forgetfulness, sleep disturbance and more. Having someone to listen to and support you through this is very important. Check in on your friends and neighbours, and if you or someone you know needs help, reach out. The following are free services available 24 hours a day, seven days a week: 

  • Mental Health Line – 1800 011 511 
  • Lifeline – 13 11 14 
  • Mensline – 1300 789 978 
  • Kids Helpline – 1800 55 1800 
  • Beyondblue – 1300 22 4636  
  • Healthy Minds - 1300 16 339

Please check the information provided from NSW Health website regarding emergency assistance, air quality and smoke irritations, treating burns and drinking water.

If you have concerns or questions regarding the use of fire retardants near your property, please refer to this  factsheet212KB pdf(PDF, 212KB) issued by NSW Rural Fire Service. 

Managing native vegetation to prepare for a bushfire

For  advice and support on land management, call Local Land Services on 1300 795 299 or find land management fact sheets online at lls.nsw.gov.au 

Helping native wildlife recover after bushfires

FAWNA have a program called #Food4Wildlife which provides mountains of bags of feed for kangaroos, wallabies, possums, birds and a whole heap of other native animals. There are over 30 food collection stations spread over the FAWNA area that has been impacted by bushfires, where the community can collect macropod pellets and wild bird seed to put out for their hungry local fauna. For more information visit the FAWNA website.

The Hastings Birdwatchers has prepared a flyer that provides advice on the role you can play to help native bird life that have been impacted by bushfires find food, water and shelter.  Download the information sheet here.325KB pdf(PDF, 325KB)

This page was last updated on: 21 February 2020