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Urgent Information for Bushfire Disaster Recovery

Disaster Welfare Assistance Points Established - Nowra and Ulladulla

Disaster Welfare Assistant Points will be set up in Ulladulla from the 9th January 2020 (today) and from the 10th January 2020, in Nowra.

These welfare points provide immediate support to those impacted by the recent fires and are run by the Office of Emergency Management, in conjunction with support agencies.

The purpose of these centres is to continue to provide for the immediate needs of the community, following the closure of evacuation centres.

Fire-affected members of the community with immediate needs such as shelter, food or water can visit the Disaster Welfare Assistance Points and register for assistance.


The following locations will be operating as Disaster Welfare Assistance Points:


· Ulladulla Civic Centre

o 81B Princes Highway Ulladulla

o Open from Thursday 9 January 2020

o Will operate Monday to Sunday 9am to 4pm


· Shoalhaven Entertainment Centre

o 42 Bridge Road Nowra

o Open from Friday 10 January 2020

o Will operate Monday to Sunday 9am to 4pm


It is also intended for outreach points to be provided, at times, to significantly impacted communities. These will be advertised within the community once needs, days and times are determined.

For those that are unable to attend a welfare point in person there is also a Disaster Welfare Assistance Line, operating every day from 8.30am to 4.30 pm, call 1800 018 444.

More information on Disaster Welfare Assistance Points can be found on the NSW Government website - https://www.emergency.nsw.gov.au/Pages/for-the-community/disaster-assistance/disaster-assistance.aspx

Also, I have provide below an update on the National Bushfire Recovery Agency for your distribution.


National Bushfire Recovery Agency.

The National Bushfire Recovery Agency has been announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison to lead and coordinate a national response to rebuilding communities affected by bushfires across large parts of Australia.

The Agency is led by Mr Andrew Colvin, APM, OAM, former Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police, who will report to the Prime Minister through the Minister for Emergency Management, David Littleproud MP.

The National Bushfire Recovery Agency will oversee a National Bushfire Recovery Fund which will support all recovery efforts across Australia over the next two years. An initial $2 billion has been allocated to this fund.


OFFERS OF ASSISTANCE AND DONATIONS

The Australian Government continues to receive offers of assistance from the global community, domestic organisations, groups and individuals. These requests are being worked through in close consultation with the states and territories to determine the best options to support our emergency service personnel and fire-affected communities. Financial donations may be made directly to emergency service agencies or to various established charities such as the Red Cross, Salvos or Vinnies.


·       Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery – www.redcross.org.au

·       The Salvation Army Disaster Appeal – www.salvationarmy.org.au

·       St Vincent de Paul Bushfire Appeal – www.vinnies.org.au


The Australian Treasury, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and the Australian Charities and not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) are compiling a list of registered charities which are accepting tax deductible donations for bushfire relief and recovery activities. This list will be progressively added to on this website over coming days.

If you are a registered charity with gift recipient (DGR) status working to support bushfire recovery efforts, please contact the Australian Treasury at dgr@treasury.gov.au if your charity does not appear on the list.

If you wish to donate to bushfire recovery efforts, we recommend you check the ACNC Charity Register (https://www.acnc.gov.au/charity) for additional information about charities you want to support.

There are currently a wide range of appeals raising funds for people and animals affected by the bushfires. Unfortunately, some of these are scams. Please see Bushfires and Scams on the ACCC website for further information.


DISASTER PAYMENTS

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.


Evacuation Centres OPEN

 8 January 2020


Eurobodalla LGA 

· Hanging Rock Sports Club Function Centre, Hanging Rock Place, Batemans Bay NSW 2536 

· Moruya Basketball Stadium (within Moruya Showground), Albert Street, Moruya NSW 2537

· Narooma Leisure Centre, 100 Bluewater Drive, Narooma NSW 2546


  Bega Valley Shire LGA

· Bega Showground, High Street, Bega NSW 2550

City of Shoalhaven LGA

· Ulladulla Civic Centre – 81B Princes Highway, Ulladulla NSW 2539 - open 7am-7pm


Disaster Welfare Assistance Points 


If you have been impacted by the fires and have immediate needs such as shelter, food or water, please visit and register for assistance.

City of Wagga Wagga LGA

· Wagga Wagga Equex Centre, Cnr Copeland St and Kooringal Rd, Wagga Wagga, NSW  2650 -  9am till 5pm Tuesday 7th, Wednesday 8th and Thursday 9th

City of Albury LGA

· Albury Entertainment Centre, 525 Swift St, Albury NSW 2640 – opening 12:30 Tuesday 7th then -  9am till 5pm, Wednesday 8th and Thursday 9th

Bega Valley Shire LGA

· Cobargo Showgrounds, Avernus Street, Cobargo NSW 2550 – Open 8am - 4pm ongoing

· Bermagui Surf Club, Lamont Street, Bermagui NSW 2546 – Open 8am - 4pm ongoing

Snowy Valley LGA

· Macauley Catholic School, Capper St Tumut NSW 2720 – Open 9am till 5pm, Wednesday 8th and Thursday 9th

Cooma-Monaro Shire LGA

· Cooma Library - 61 Vale Street, Cooma NSW 2630 – Open 14:00 Wednesday 8th then 9am till 5pm Thursday 9th ongoing

If you are unable to get to the Disaster Welfare Assistance Point please call the Disaster Welfare Assistance Line on 1800 018 444.

Kempsey, Taree, Grafton, Glen Innes

The Disaster Welfare Assistance Points in Kempsey, Taree, Grafton and Glen Innes have been transitioned to council on the 20 December. Services and information will continue to be available through council.


NSW Government support

NSW Office of Emergency Management

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.

To be eligible for this grant you must:

· be a low-income earner and meet an income assets test

· demonstrate that 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.


NSW Rural Assistance Authority

To support relief and recovery following a declared natural disaster a range of measures are made available by the NSW Government. These measures include:

· Disaster Recovery Grants

· Disaster Relief Loans

o Primary producers

o Small business

o Non-profit organisations

o Sporting and recreation clubs

· Transport assistance

o Natural Disaster Transport Subsidy (for primary producers)

For more information, including eligibility criteria, see https://www.raa.nsw.gov.au/disaster-assistance.


NSW Local Land Services

Local Land Services and NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) are on the ground providing assistance to landholders who have been impacted by the fires in NSW. We assist with:

· emergency fodder

· emergency stock water

· veterinary assistance

· livestock euthanasia and burial

· livestock feeding and management advice

· care of animals in evacuation centres

Bee keepers are also eligible for assistance if affected by fire, just like other animal managers. If you require emergency assistance to care for your hives as a result of the recent fires, call the Agriculture and Animal Services Hotline.

If you, or your community have been affected by the fires and have concerns about your livestock, pets, companion animals or wildlife, call the Agriculture and Animal Services Hotline on 1800 814 647 for assistance. 

For more information, including eligibility criteria, see https://www.lls.nsw.gov.au/emergency/bushfires.


Australian Government support

Disaster Recovery Payment

The Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment (AGDRP) provides one-off financial assistance to eligible Australians adversely affected by the bushfires.

The rate of AGDRP is $1,000 per eligible adult and $400 per eligible child.

Claims for this payment can be lodged with the Department of Human Services for a period up to six months.

AGDRP is available for people who have been seriously injured, have lost their homes or whose homes have been directly damaged, or are the immediate family members of a person who has died, as a direct result of the bushfires.

You have until 21 June 2020 to lodge a claim for AGDRP in the local government areas of Armidale, Bega Valley, Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Cessnock, Clarence Valley, Coffs Harbour, Eurobodalla, Glen Innes Severn, Hawkesbury,Kempsey, Kyogle, Lismore, Lithgow,  Mid-Coast, Mid-Western, Nambucca, Port Macquarie-Hastings, Queanbeyan-Palerang, Richmond Valley, Shoalhaven, Singleton, Tenterfield, Walcha, Wingecarribee and Wollondilly.

For more information on eligibility, visit the Department of Human Services website or contact the Australian Government Information Hotline on 180 22 66 for claims assistance.


Disaster Recovery Allowance

The Disaster Recovery Allowance (DRA) provides income support payments to employees, primary producers and sole traders who can demonstrate they have experienced a loss of income as a direct result of the bushfires.

DRA provides fortnightly payments for up to 13 weeks up to the applicable rate of Newstart or Youth Allowance, depending on the person's circumstances.

DRA is available to Australian residents who are sixteen years and older.

DRA is not available to those already receiving another income support payment or pension such as the Age Pension, Newstart Allowance or Service Pension.

You have until 21 June 2020 to lodge a claim for DRA in the local government areas of Armidale, Ballina, Bega Valley, Bellingen, Blue Mountains, Byron, Central Coast, Cessnock, Clarence Valley, Coffs Harbour, Eurobodalla, Glen Innes Severn, Greater Hume, Gwydir, Hawkesbury, Inverell, Kempsey, Ku-ring-gai, Kyogle, Lake Macquarie, Lismore, Lithgow, Mid-Coast, Mid-Western, Muswellbrook, Nambucca, Narrabri, Oberon, Penrith, Port Macquarie-Hastings, Queanbeyan-Palerang , Richmond Valley, Shoalhaven, Singleton, Snowy Monaro, Snowy Valleys, Sutherland, Tamworth, Tenterfield, Tweed, Upper Hunter, Upper Lachlan, Uralla, Walcha, Wingecarribee and Wollondilly.

For eligibility information, visit the Department of Human Services website or contact the Australian Government Information Hotline on 180 22 66 for claims for assistance.


Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements

The joint Australian, state and territory government Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA) provide a range of financial assistance to the natural disaster-declared areas in each state or territory.

For the bushfires which impacted the local government areas of Armidale, Ballina, Bega Valley, Bellingen, Blue Mountains, Byron, Central Coast Cessnock, Clarence Valley, Coffs Harbour, Eurobodalla, Glen Innes Severn, Greater Hume, Gwydir, Hawkesbury, Inverell, Kempsey, Ku-ring-gai, Kyogle, Lake Macquarie, Lismore, Lithgow, Mid-Coast, Mid-Western, Muswellbrook, Nambucca, Narrabri, Oberon, Penrith, Port Macquarie Hastings, Queanbeyan-Palerang, Richmond Valley, Shoalhaven, Singleton, Snowy Monaro, Snowy Valleys, Sutherland, Tamworth, Tenterfield, Tweed, Upper Hunter, Upper Lachlan, Uralla, Walcha, Wingecarribee and Wollondilly from 31 August 2019 onwards, the available assistance measures include:

· Personal hardship and distress assistance

· Counter disaster operations

· Restoration of essential public assets

· Concessional interest rate loans for small businesses, primary producers and non-profit organisations

· Freight subsidies

· Grants to non-profit organisations.


Category C Assistance 

A Community Recovery Fund (CRF) has been activated to further assist bushfire affected communities. Funding is available for a range of measures including targeted community projects and mental health support.

Recovery grants of up to $15,000 also are available for eligible primary producers, small businesses and non-profit organisations.

To apply for a recovery grant, primary producers, small businesses and non-profit organisations can contact the NSW Rural Assistance Authority on 1800 678 593 or visit raa.nsw.gov.au.

The CRF and recovery grants are available in the thirty-two (32) local government areas of Armidale, Ballina, Bellingen, Bega Valley, Blue Mountains, Byron, Clarence Valley, Central Coast, Cessnock, Coffs Harbour, Eurobodalla, Glen Innes Severn, Hawkesbury, Inverell, Kempsey, Kyogle, Lismore, Lithgow, Mid-Coast, Nambucca, Port Macquarie-Hastings, Queanbeyan-Palerang, Richmond Valley, Shoalhaven, Singleton, Snowy Monaro, Snowy Valleys, Tenterfield, Tweed,Walcha, Wingecarribee and Wollondilly.

For further information on recovery arrangements, visit the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements 2018 page.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade will replace passports that have been lost or damaged in declared natural disasters free of charge, visit the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website.


Fact sheets

Disaster Recovery Grants Information for Small Business

Assistance with Animal Welfare Issues - LLS

6.25pm on Jan 5, 2020


Telstra extends free pay-phones to help families stay in touch

Telstra CEO Andy Penn has announced that its pay-phones will be free for use to make local, national, and standard mobile calls across the country from Monday. 

"This free service will remain in place until further notice and we hope alongside our disaster assistance packages across all impacted states it is in some small part another means of assisting communities and individuals that have been impacted by these terrible bushfires."

Date of Declaration

Disaster recovery grants available in Local Government Areas

Closing date

3 January 2020

Bega Valley, Eurobodalla, Mid-Western, Queanbeyan-Palerang, Shoalhaven, Snowy Monaro, Snowy Valleys

3 July 2020

23 December 2019

Wingecarribee, Wollondilly

23 June 2020

18 December 2019

Blue Mountains, Lithgow, Hawkesbury, Cessnock, Central Coast, Singleton,

18 June 2020

24 November 2019

Armidale, Ballina, Bellingen, Byron, Clarence Valley, Coffs Harbour, Glen Innes Severn, Inverell, Kempsey, Kyogle, Lismore, Mid-Coast, Nambucca, Port Macquarie-Hastings, Richmond Valley, Tenterfield, Tweed and Walcha.

24 May 2020

Guidelines and information on how to apply is attached. For additional information, please visit https://www.raa.nsw.gov.au/disaster-assistance/disaster-recovery-grants/bushfires


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