Disaster Relief Assistance: Overview of what help is available
There are now 45 Local Government Areas (LGAs) across NSW that have been declared as disaster areas and are receiving support through the joint Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA).
Premier of New South Wales Dominic Perrottet said the grants are part of a $434.7 million funding recovery package, co-founded by the Commonwealth and NSW governments, with more still to come.
“Each of the 45 flood-affected councils have now received a $1 million grant which can be used to cover operational costs or begin to restore damaged public infrastructure,” Mr Perrottet said.
New South Wales Minister for Local Government Wendy Tuckerman said the $1 million grants have been sent directly to councils to assist them with their immediate social, built, economic and environmental needs in the recovery stage.
“Councils did not need to apply for this funding. The Office of Local Government has made direct transfers totalling $45 million to each flood-affected council,” Ms Tuckerman said.
The initial 17 councils to receive this support on 3 March 2022 included the LGAs of Armidale, Ballina, Bellingen, Byron, Clarence Valley, Coffs Harbour, Glen Innes Severn, Hornsby, Kempsey, Kyogle, Lismore, Nambucca, Port Macquarie/Hastings, Richmond, Tenterfield, The Hills and Tweed. On 5 March 2022 this was expanded to include the 28 LGAs of Bayside, Bega Valley, Blacktown, Blue Mountains, Camden, Campbelltown, Canterbury Bankstown, Central Coast, Eurobodalla, Fairfield, Georges River, Hawkesbury, Inner West, Kiama, Ku-Ring-Gai, Liverpool City, Mid Coast, Newcastle, Northern Beaches, Parramatta, Penrith, Ryde, Shellharbour, Shoalhaven, Sutherland, Wingecarribee, Wollondilly and Wollongong.
Council updates: clean-up, potholes, landslips
Our own council is dealing with an extensive clean up and thousands of requests for help currently - many staff members have been doing their utmost during the past two weeks to attend to residents, including the same all-nighters residents have dealt with this week, especially when areas of Narrabeen, Warriewood and Manly were evacuated on Tuesday March 8th.
Although resources and people have been reallocated to meet these needs it may still be some time before your request can be attended to.
Cleanup of damaged items
Waste from a natural disaster becomes eligible for an exemption from the levy upon the declaration of a natural disaster by the relevant state government authority. This has been applied to our area by the state government.
Flood impacted waste collections are continuing across the weekend and into next week. Flood affected household furniture, furnishings, fixtures and fittings, mattresses, carpets and other similar household items are able to be collected. Please notify Customer Service on 1300 434 434 if you have e-waste items such as such as televisions and computers and place them separately from other waste as they will be collected separately.
To ensure safety, the following material will not be collected; - building material (including insulation, brick, rubble, asbestos), sandbags, car parts, tyres, oils, glass, hazardous materials (including smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, gas bottles, chemicals, paint, car batteries and liquid waste), waste that would generally go in your red bin (including food waste) or recyclables that would go in your yellow or blue bin (containers and paper).
Please contact your insurer before you put anything out for collection.
For businesses, the council recommends you contact your insurer, commercial waste collector and landlord first to see what support they have in place for you. Remember to take photos of your damaged items for your records. After that you can ring the Customer Service team on 1300 434 434 to see how they can help.
If you still have flood damaged waste that needs collection, please contact Customer Service on 1300 434 434 to provide your address and information for collection.
Over a hundred tonnes of household waste have already been collected and crews will continue to collect across the weekend and early next week, prioritising the worst hit areas.
Potholes and damaged roads
Potholes and damage to roads is extensive at present. You can report a pothole in main roads to Transport for NSW or Council for other public roads. Around 8 council crews, and two contract crews are currently actively repairing potholes in roads the council is responsible for.
There have been several landslips in the LGA. A heartening sight at Bilgola Plateau of residents working together to clear one that had run onto the road is indicative of what has occurred here during the past few weeks - residents not only looking out for and after each other, but also sending what they could to communities further north.
Those that have occurred on private land have been the focus of Geotechnical inspections with residents following up on the next steps to take to secure their properties and public safety. Those on land overseen by the council will be dealt with by them.
An instance of a rockslip has occurred during this weather event at Newport, as shown in this video made available by John Illingsworth.
There is still a lot of debris and pollutants in all local waters; the Pittwater estuary and where lagoons run out to the sea, as well as along our beaches. These present not only hazards for those going on or in the water on vessels as many of these are larger pieces of wood or other items washed down the Hawkesbury river, some submerged, but can also have health impacts for those who go into the water. Swimming is not recommended at this time.
There will also be a lot of mould in indoor living areas. A report on how to deal with dampness inside the home runs this Issue.
New South Wales Minister for Emergency Services and Resilience Steph Cooke said the NSW Government was working with community organisations and not-for-profits to support communities hit hard by the floods and storms.
“I would urge any individual, business owner or primary producer impacted by this unprecedented flood event to please contact Service NSW or visit one of our new Recovery Centres to find out what you are eligible for.'' Ms Cooke said.
For our rural readers, these recovery centres are in Ballina, Casino, Kyogle, Lismore, Mullumbimby and Murwillumbah.
The Northern Beaches has been declared a natural disaster area for this latest storm (AGRN 1012), meaning residents could be eligible for a range of assistance measures being provided.
This has been collated into easy to access sections at: www.nsw.gov.au/disaster-recovery/disaster-relief-and-support
There is also a function set up through ServiceNSW that helps you identify all that's available for your individual circumstances by asking questions that filter and apply results. You can access that program function at: disasterassistance.service.nsw.gov.au
Below runs an overview extracted from the NSW and Australian Government webpages on what is available.
NSW Government Disaster Relief Grants
Who this is for:
- Damaged/destroyed home and/or household contents
- Has a low income
- Has limited assets
- Has had their primary place of residence damaged or destroyed by the severe weather event
Resilience NSW 13 77 88 - Further information
The application process
- Phone 13 77 88 and ask about the Disaster Relief Grant administered by Resilience NSW.
- We will send you an application form and fact sheet.
- Gather the extra information and document you will need to provide.
- Submit your application with the extra information and documents you have gathered. Your application can be made up to four months after the disaster.
- We will let you know when we receive your application, give you a case number and advise if you need to supply any other documents.
- We will check your application and talk to the agencies you have named on your behalf. By signing and submitting your application you are giving us permission to do so.
- We will arrange to visit your home and inspect the damage before making a final assessment of your application.
- We will write to you to tell you the outcome of your application.
What you need to provide
- The physical home address of the property that was damaged
- Temporary address and contact number
Proof of income (one or more of the following)
- Centrelink advice letter
- Income statement or payslips
- Evidence of taxable income (e.g. taxation advice for self-employed)
Verification of home loan repayments or rent
- Your last normal weekly rent receipt
- A statement from your lending authority
Proof of assets
- Bank statements - for 3 months, including a statement covering the event date
- Proof of investments
- Council rate notice (if you are the home owner)
Insurance details (if applicable)
- Policy numbers
- Insurance company letters or emails
Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment
A lump sum payment to help people seriously affected by the NSW floods starting in February 2022.To get it, you or a dependent child you’re a principal carer for must meet all of the following:
- you’re an Australian resident or hold an eligible visa
- you meet Local Government Area (LGA) rules
- you’re claiming this payment for the NSW Floods, February 2022 for the first time.
You must be 16 years or older at the time of the floods or getting a social security payment.
You or a dependent child you’re a principal carer for, must have been seriously affected by the storms and floods. For example:
- you were seriously injured
- you’re the immediate family member of an Australian citizen or resident who died or is missing
- the flood caused major damage to your home.
If you’re part of a couple, you can both claim this payment. You and your partner will need to make separate claims.
Examples of major damage to your principal place of residence can include:
- it’s been destroyed or must be demolished
- it’s been declared structurally unsound
- this disaster has exposed the interior to the elements
- sewage has gotten inside your home
- this disaster has significantly damaged a major asset or assets you own at your property.
You may also be eligible if this disaster has caused major damage to the interior of your principal place of residence. Examples include:
- flooring or furniture needs refinishing or replacing
- electrical items need repairing or replacing
- metal has begun to rust, pit and corrode and needs replacing.
The Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment is a lump sum payment.
If you’re eligible you’ll get:
- $1,000 per adult
- $400 for each child younger than 16.
How to claim
There are 3 steps to claim the Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment.
NB: Evidence of damage - If your claim is due to property or major assets damage, you must first assess the damage. You may need to provide evidence such as photos to support your claim.
- Get ready to claim
The easiest way for Australian residents to claim is online. If you’re a protected visa holder, you’re considered to be an Australian resident and can claim online.
To claim online, you need a myGov account linked to Centrelink. If you don’t have a myGov account, you’ll need to set it up online. If your myGov account isn’t linked to Centrelink, you can prove who you are through myGov to link Centrelink.
If you need help claiming you can call the Emergency information line on 180 22 66. If you have a nominee, they must call the Emergency information line to claim on your behalf.
2. Link Centrelink to your myGov account
You’ll need to link Centrelink to your myGov account. How you do this will depend on if you’ve claimed a payment before.
If you’ve claimed a payment before, you can use your Centrelink Customer Reference Number (CRN) to link Centrelink to myGov. You’ll also need to answer some personal questions.
If you don’t know your CRN or can’t answer the personal questions using your CRN, select I need a CRN. You’ll need to prove your identity online, using myGov. Follow the same instructions for ‘If you haven’t claimed a payment before’.
If you haven’t claimed a payment from us before, you’ll need to prove your identity online using myGov. You’ll need to enter some personal information and details from 2 acceptable identity documents and your Medicare card. Once you prove your identity, we’ll link Centrelink to your myGov account.
3. Make your claim
Follow these steps to make your claim:
- Sign in to myGov and select Centrelink in your linked services.
- Select Make a claim or view claim status.
- Select Make a claim.
- Scroll to Help in an emergency and select Get started.
- Select Apply for Disaster Recovery Payment.
- Select Begin.
- Answer the eligibility and claim questions.
- Submit your claim.
The Centrelink online account guide on how to Claim the Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment will step you through this process in more detail.
When you’re ready: Sign in to myGov
NSW Floods, February 2022 - Disaster Recovery Allowance
This is a short term payment to help you following the NSW floods starting in February 2022. You can get it for a maximum of 13 weeks. The Australian-NSW government pay this from the date you started losing income as a direct result of the NSW floods starting in February 2022.
The DRA is a taxable payment.
To get it, you must meet all of the following.
- were 16 or older at the time of the floods
- are an Australian resident or hold an eligible visa
- work or live in an affected Local Government Area (LGA)
- lost income as a direct result of the storms and floods
- earn less than the average Australian weekly income in the weeks after you had this income loss.
The Goverment uses Australian Bureau of Statistics figures to work out the average weekly income. On 9 August 2021, this was $1,737.10 per week.
If you’re part of a couple, you can both claim this payment. You and your partner will need to make separate claims.
If you’re aged between 16 and 21
If you’re between 16 and 21, they must consider you to be independent to get this payment.
They’ll look at all of the following:
- your income
- your personal circumstances
- if you’re dependent on anyone, such as an adult who has legal responsibility for your care and provides financial assistance.
When you can’t get this payment
You can’t get DRA if you get any of the following payments during your claim period:
- an income support payment or pension
- Parental Leave Pay
- Dad and Partner Pay
- ABSTUDY Living Allowance
- Farm Household Allowance
- a Service Pension from the Department of Veterans' Affairs.
If you’re eligible, you’ll get the maximum equivalent rate of JobSeeker Payment or Youth Allowance, depending on your personal circumstances.
There are 3 steps to claim the Disaster Recovery Allowance. You can access these, similar to above, with some paperwork needed to be provided by you (such as payslips etc.) and apply at: www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/how-to-claim-nsw-floods-february-2022-disaster-recovery-allowance
Small Business Help
If you're a small business or a not-for-profit organisation in NSW and you've been directly impacted by storms and floods in February and March 2022, you may be eligible for a storm and flood disaster recovery small business grant.
This disaster recovery grant of up to $50,000 is to help pay for the costs of clean-up and reinstatement of a small business or not-for-profit organisation’s operations.
If you're a primary producer, you may be eligible for financial assistance tailored to your industry. Please visit the Rural Assistance Authority for information on the financial assistance available to primary producers.
Covered costs could include, but are not limited to:
- payment for tradespeople to conduct safety inspections
- equipment and materials required for cleaning up
- equipment and materials essential for immediately resuming operations
- payment for a cleaner if the service would not have been needed, or exceeds ordinary cleaning costs, in the absence of the disaster
- the removal and disposal of debris, damaged materials or damaged stock
- repairing premises and internal fittings
- leasing temporary premises, replacing or repair of motor vehicles, or replacing lost or damaged stock, if it’s essential for resuming operations.
- The maximum grant amount available is $50,000.
- Funds of up to $15,000 will be provided to eligible, approved applicants based on quotes you will need to submit when you apply. You do not need to provide evidence of payment at this stage.
- Evidence, including valid tax invoices, will be required in relation to the first $15,000 if you are seeking funding from $15,000 to $50,000.
- To receive funds of between $15,000 to $50,000, you will need to submit evidence of payment of the relevant costs at the time of application.
If your initial grant application is for an amount less than $50,000, you can submit further applications if you require additional funds to complete eligible clean-up and reinstatement activities.
You must be a small business owner or a not-for profit organisation in a defined disaster area and:
- have suffered direct damage – 'direct damage' means a direct and material impact of flooding on business assets or equipment.
- be primarily responsible for meeting the costs you are claiming
- intend to re-establish your small business or not-for-profit organisation within the same area
- if you are a small business, have held an ABN (which you currently hold) and engaged in carrying on the small business at the time of the floods in the defined disaster area
- if you are a not-for-profit organisation, be registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) or an equivalent state regulatory body and have held that registration at the time of the eligible disaster.
Sole traders with no employees who fulfil the above criteria are eligible to apply if you can show that you derive a majority of your income from the small business, or that:
- immediately before the eligible disaster, you derived a majority of your income from the business, and
- the majority of your income would have come from the business again if not for the eligible disaster.
You may also be eligible if your small business or not-for-profit organisation is located outside the defined disaster area, but:
- operates on a part-time or regular basis within the defined disaster area, and
- plant or equipment your small business owns was located in the defined disaster area and was damaged by the eligible disaster.
If you operate multiple small businesses, you may apply for grant funding for each eligible separate business up to the maximum amount available.
Read the application guide for a step-by-step overview of what you need to know and do to apply.
After your application is received, it will be reviewed. If additional information to support your application is required, you'll be notified. If your application is approved, a payment will be transferred to your specified bank account within 5 business days.
If you're not able to apply online, please call 13 77 88.
Find out more about what's available for small businesses at: www.service.nsw.gov.au/transaction/apply-february-and-march-2022-storm-and-flood-disaster-recovery-small-business-grant
Disaster relief and support for sport and recreation clubs
A grant or loan may be provided to sport and recreation clubs and associations as a contribution towards clean up, removal of debris and/or restoring essential facilities, equipment or other assets that have been damaged or destroyed by a disaster.
The maximum assistance provided to a single applicant is a grant of up to $2000 and/or a loan of up to $10,000.
Who is eligible?
- sport and recreation clubs and associations who have incurred costs as a result of the disaster, which are not recoverable through insurance, and who do not have the financial capacity to pay the costs from their own funds or reserves
- assistance is not provided to clubs that have sizeable commercial operations or gaming areas – such clubs may include golf clubs or bowling clubs.
Find out more
For grant assistance, Contact NSW Treasury via email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Disaster relief and support for not-for-profit organisations and churches
The NSW Government provides financial relief and support services for eligible not-for-profit organisations and churches following a natural disaster.
Disaster Relief loan
Loans may be provided to not-for-profit organisations for the restoration of essential facilities, equipment or other assets damaged or destroyed as a direct result of a declared disaster. These funds may also be directed towards temporary storage or leasing of alternate premises.
A maximum of $25,000 may be provided to an eligible not-for-profit organisation.
Who is eligible?
Eligible not-for-profit organisations (NPO) must:
- provide evidence of registration or incorporation as an NPO
- have suffered damage to facilities or equipment or other assets arising directly from a declared disaster event
- satisfy the Administering Agency that it has the financial capacity to repay the loan
- not have the financial capacity to pay the costs from its own funds or reserves
- not perform a sizeable commercial function or represent a commercial or industrial
- not provide any financial gain for its members.
Organisations receiving other grants or loans for the same declared disaster may not be eligible for this assistance measure.
Find out more at: www.nsw.gov.au/disaster-recovery/disaster-relief-and-support/for-not-for-profit-organisations-and-churches
Vehicles and Transport
Vehicle/vessel registration, licence or permit replacement
Free replacement, fee waivers, and/or concessions to assist you to replace a range of licences and permits.
Who this is for:
- Licence and/or registration has been damaged/destroyed -
Transport for NSW 13 77 88 - Further information
E-Toll tag deposit waiver
Security deposit waiver for replacing E-Toll tag
Who this is for:
- Lost/damaged/destroyed E-Toll tag
Service NSW - Further information
Motor vehicle stamp duty refund
Refund for the motor vehicle stamp duty you pay for a replacement vehicle.
Who this is for:
- Motor vehicle written off
Revenue NSW 1300 139 814 - Further information
Disaster relief and support for local councils
The NSW Government is providing assistance to restore public infrastructure and assets that have been damaged as a direct result of a natural disaster.
For assistance to restore public roads, road infrastructure and bridges, councils should contact their regional representative in Transport for NSW.
For assistance to restore other essential public assets, councils should contact their regional representatives in Public Works Advisory.
For information, call Resilience NSW on 02 9212 9200, email email@example.com or see, NSW Disaster Assistance Arrangements.