Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme
Minister for Government Services

Media release: Update on emergency financial assistance and federal government services for bushfires

3 January 2020

The Hon Stuart Robert MP

Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme
Minister for Government Services
  • Extended phone line opening hours this weekend for bushfire disaster payment claims.
  • Fastest way to claim disaster payments is to call 180 22 66.
  • Mobile Service Centres on standby to deploy to impacted regions in New South Wales’ South Coast and Victoria’s East Gippsland.
  • Nearly $25 million provided in Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment (AGDRP) and Disaster Recovery Allowance (DRA) to people in declared Local Government Areas since 16 September 2019.
  • Over 20,600 claims processed since 16 September 2019.

Bushfire-affected Australians in declared regions are able to claim disaster payments quickly this weekend, with the Services Australia (Centrelink) 180 22 66 phone line open from 8am to 5pm AEDT on both Saturday and Sunday. Information on eligibility is available from the Human Services website.

Whilst the fastest way to claim is to call 180 22 66, the department’s Mobile Service Centres Desert Rose and Golden Wattle are also on standby to travel to Victoria and New South Wales to provide support on the ground when authorities say it is safe to do so.

Minister for Government Services, Stuart Robert, said disaster payment applications are being processed as quickly as possible to ensure Australians have money available to meet their immediate needs.

‘We know many communities are continuing to respond to the bushfire threat especially as conditions worsen over coming days, however, we are ready to provide government services to the emerging needs of Australians affected by this situation,’ Minister Robert said.

‘We are working with state governments to get financial assistance payments to those Australians who have already been impacted by the fires as quickly as possible.
‘When it is safe to do so, I strongly encourage those in disaster declared areas to make contact with us by calling 180 22 66.’

The Morrison Government has provided nearly $25 million in Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payments (AGDRP) and Disaster Recovery Allowance (DRA) to people in bushfire affected regions across Australia since September 2019.

Services Australia staff have answered over 38,000 calls in November and December and have processed over 20,600 claims for disaster payments.

Services Australia (Centrelink) operations may continue to be affected and all sites are being monitored regularly. You can check service changes to your local office by visiting humanservices.gov.au/servicechanges.

For more information on support available visit humanservices.gov.au/disaster

[ENDS]

Background

The Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment is available to eligible people whose homes have been severely damaged or destroyed, who have been seriously injured or who have lost an immediate family member in the fires.

The Disaster Recovery Allowance is available for those eligible who have lost income as a direct result of the disaster event.

Page last updated: 15 January 2020