Disaster relief payments
Disaster relief payments that are made to individuals and businesses impacted by the bushfires are tax exempt.
The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is also providing automatic deferral of lodgement and payment obligations for individuals and businesses in bushfire-affected communities. The ATO Emergency Support Infoline is 1800 806 218.
- Call Services Australia on 180 22 66 for:
- Disaster Recovery Payment – $1000 per adult and $400 per child for people severely affected by the bushfires
- Disaster Recovery Allowance – short-term income assistance (up to 13 weeks) for people severely affected by the bushfires
- Additional Child Care Subsidy Temporary Financial Hardship – if you're eligible for the Child Care Subsidy and have been severely impacted by the bushfires
- Crisis Payment – a one-off payment for people in severe financial hardship who are not covered by other disaster relief offers.
- Visit a Service NSW Centre or call 13 77 88 for NSW Government Disaster Relief Grants available for eligible individuals and families whose homes and essential household contents have been damaged or destroyed in the bushfires.
- See Volunteer Firefighter Payment for payments for eligible volunteer firefighters who are self-employed or employed by a small or medium business and have lost income.
- See Support from non-government organisations (NGOs) to find out about the financial and practical support being offered by both commercial and non-commercial NGOs.
Support for New Zealanders:
- Ex-gratia Disaster Recovery Payment – a one-off payment of $1,000 per adult, $1,000 per partner or dependent adult and $400 for each child younger than 16. For New Zealanders who have been significantly affected by the bushfires. It’s not for minor damage or inconvenience.
- Ex-gratia Disaster Recovery Allowance – short-term income assistance (up to 13 weeks) for New Zealanders who can show they lost income as a direct result of the bushfires.
Australian Red Cross
The Red Cross is expanding its financial assistance for people who lost their homes in the bushfires, to help ensure they have somewhere safe to stay over winter.
Recovery is a long term process, and the Red Cross is committed to staying with bushfire-hit communities for as long as it takes. They urge people who lost their homes to come forward and seek the assistance.
The following cash grants are available and applications will be open until 31 August 2020.
- Emergency grant – a $20,000 payment if your primary place of residence has been destroyed or rendered uninhabitable.
- Re-establishment grant – formerly the 'Rebuild grant' of $20,000, this grant has now been increased.
- $40,000 is available to:
- home owner-occupiers whose primary place of residence was destroyed
- $10,000 is available to:
- people who were renting homes that were destroyed
- people who were living in non-permanent structures such as caravans or mobile homes that were destroyed.
- $40,000 is available to:
- Injury grant – a $7500 or $15,000 payment if you've spent 2 or more days in hospital due to physical injuries or mental health issues resulting from the bushfires, from July 2019. The $15,000 payment is available for people who meet the eligibility criteria and have additional medical costs that exceed or are likely to exceed $7500.
- Primary residence repair grant – up to $10,000 payment if your home has been structurally damaged and needs repair to make it safe to live in.
If you need help applying and/or uploading documents, and you're unable to get to friends and family due to social distancing restrictions, call 1800 733 276.
Visit Red Cross Bushfire Grants Q&A for more information.
The Salvation Army is working with federal, state and local government, as well as community organisations to best meet the needs of people impacted by the 2019–2020 bushfires.
They are providing emotional support and referrals, and the following financial assistance.
- Hardship recovery grant – assistance to individuals and families experiencing ongoing extreme hardship as a result of the bushfire disaster.
- Loss of residence grant – assistance to individuals and families in bushfire impacted areas whose primary place of residence (owned or leased) has been destroyed or rendered uninhabitable due to the 2019–2020 bushfires.
The grants are limited to one grant per household, and are available to eligible applicants over the age of 18, who:
- suffered loss from the 2019–2020 bushfires
- lived or worked in a bushfire affected area at the time of the fires.
Council rates relief
If you own a farm or property that has suffered damage beyond repair in the 2019/2020 bushfires, you may be eligible for 6 months of council rates relief from your local council.
Long service levy exemption – building and construction
If you're replacing or repairing buildings destroyed or damaged as a result of the 2019/20 NSW bushfires, you can apply for an exemption from the Long Service levy.
The exemption applies to the first $1,000,000 (inc GST) spent on repairing or rebuilding a damaged property or building.
For expenditure of $1,000,000 and above, you'll be required to pay a partial levy.
Applications must be lodged by 2 March 2023.
For more information visit Long Service Corporation.
NSW Government stamp duty relief
If you lost your home in the bushfires and you're intending to buy in another location rather than rebuild, the NSW Government is offering up to $55,000 towards the stamp duty on the replacement property.
The stamp duty relief is aimed at providing people with an option to get back on their feet and into their own home faster.
For more information visit NSW bushfire transfer duty relief scheme.
Note: $55,000 would be the approximate stamp duty payable on a property priced at around $1.25 million. Any amount above the $55,000 would be payable by the purchaser.
NSW Rural Assistance Authority (RAA)
Call the NSW Rural Assistance Authority on 1800 678 593 for:
- Sporting club assistance – concessional loans for eligible sporting clubs
- Church and non-profit organisation assistance – up to $15,000 recovery grants (33 LGAs) and concessional loans for eligible churches and non-profit organisations.
- The Natural Disaster Transport Subsidy pays for the cost of transporting:
- fodder and/or water to an affected property
- stock to sale or slaughter
- stock to/from agistment.
Various banks are providing help for bushfire-affected individuals through a range of financial assistance packages, deferred loans, waived fees and charges, grants and relief. Contact your bank's helpline for more information on the options available to you.
- ANZ Bank – 1800 252 845
- Commonwealth Bank Hardship – 1300 720 814
- National Australia Bank Care – 1800 701 599
- St George Bank Assist – 1800 629 795
- Summerland Credit Union – 1300 802 222
- Newcastle Permanent – 13 19 87
- Regional Australia Bank Hardship – 13 20 67
- Bank of Queensland – 1800 079 866
- Westpac Assist – 1800 067 497
- Southern Cross Credit Union – 1300 360 744.
Financial counselling services
Indigenous Business Australia
IBA has established a bushfire crisis fund to assist their business finance and home loan customers.
If you've been directly impacted by the current bushfires through the loss of property or compulsory evacuation, the fund will provide the following support:
- temporary suspension of loan repayments
- access to a $2000 bushfire crisis grant to cover immediate needs
- assistance with making insurance claims.
Further assistance for business customers will be assessed on an individual basis.
If you need assistance, call IBA on 1800 064 800.
Planning Reform Fund and BASIX Certificate fees
Planning Reform Fund and BASIX Certificate fees will be waived on all development applications related to homes damaged or destroyed in the recent bushfires.
Fire-affected property owners can also arrange for a BASIX Certificate to be issued free of charge.
For more information, visit the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment.