Making it work – support for those affected by fire and drought

Australians experiencing hardship due to fire or drought can access a range of special Government support services

A small child’s bike stands in the ruins of a bushfire-burnt home in Dunalley, Tasmania

This story was first published on Thursday 6 February 2020. If you wish to use this content, please contact to confirm that the information is still current.

From reporting exemptions to disaster recovery payments, child care services and mental health support, the Australian Government is delivering a range of services to help ease the stress of individuals, families and communities affected by the recent bushfires and the ongoing drought.

Job seekers

Job seekers in fire affected areas don’t need to meet their mutual obligation requirements until Friday 6 March 2020.

Additionally, job seekers who live outside the bushfire regions but are affected by the crisis (for example, they volunteer as firefighters or SES, or are caring for family members who have lost their home) should contact Centrelink to seek an exemption from their requirements.

Children, families and early childhood education and care

To ensure students don’t have their education interrupted as a result of financial hardship caused by drought, the Government has committed an additional $10 million to non-government schools as part of a $57 million package. 

Special consideration will be given to regional and remote students who are affected by drought and bushfire through the Rural and Regional Enterprise Scholarships initiative, which helps students attend university. Applications opened on Monday 20 January.

To help pay for things like replacement of damaged playground equipment, or wages for affected staff, the Community Child Care Fund has been boosted to ensure child care services in fire affected areas remain viable.

The Government has committed $8 million through Beyond Blue to provide 25 mental health liaison officers to work with local schools and early childhood services in bushfire-affected communities, to support the health of staff, students, and families.

Payments and allowances

The Disaster Recovery Payment is a one-off payment of up to $1000 for eligible adults and $400 for eligible children who have been adversely affected by the bushfires.

Additionally, short-term income support is available to people who can show they lost income as a direct result of the bushfires called the Disaster Recovery Allowance.

More information

  • The National Bushfire Recovery Agency (NBRA) is coordinating the national response to help rebuild communities. Stay up to date with what the government is doing to help Australian families, communities, wildlife and business rebuild and recover by following their Facebook and Twitter accounts.
  • Visit Human Services for information on Australian Government payments and services for people directly affected by bushfires in disaster declared areas.

From the Newsroom

Correct at time of publication.