Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke at the fires near Tumut

Residents, farmers and communities impacted by horrific fires across the region over the last few weeks will be able to immediately access disaster assistance, Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke announced today

Ms Cooke welcomed the speedy moves by the State and Commonwealth Governments to provide further financial assistance to those impacted within the fire affected areas

 “The fires have been absolutely devastating, but it’s a comfort to many that a range of assistance is now available to help people who have been affected by the bushfires as well as funding for operational response activities,” Ms Cooke said.

“The fire has been fuelled by strong winds and burnt through tens of thousands of hectares of private and public land, causing major disruptions to communities and sadly, the loss of lives.

“I’m pleased the NSW and Commonwealth governments are working closely together to provide immediate relief to those impacted in the last few days and support the longer term recovery of our local communities.”

Immediate emergency assistance – can be accessed through Evacuation Centres and Disaster Welfare Assistance Points. Call 1800 018 444 or visit https://www.emergency.nsw.gov.au/Pages/for-the-community/disaster-assistance/disaster-assistance-for-individuals.aspx

Emergency Temporary Accommodation – short term housing support. Contact the Housing Contact Centre on 1800 422 322. http://www.dcj.nsw.gov.au/families-and-communities/bushfire-housing-assistance-service/

Animal Welfare – provision of emergency fodder, stock water and stock assessment. Contact the Agriculture and Animal Services hotline on 1800 814 647.

Commonwealth Government Disaster Recovery Payment – $1,000 per adult and $400 per child for people severely affected by bushfires. Contact Human Services on 180 22 66. https://www.humanservices.gov.au/individuals/services/centrelink/nsw-bushfires-september-2019-australian-government-disaster-recovery-payment

Commonwealth Government Disaster Recovery Allowance – short term income assistance for people severely affected by bushfires. Contact Human Services on 180 22 66. https://www.humanservices.gov.au/individuals/services/centrelink/nsw-bushfires-september-2019-australian-government-disaster-recovery-payment

Potable Water Assistance – replacement of potable water for residents not on town water supply where RFS has taken water or contaminated roofs with fire retardant. Contact the Disaster Welfare Assistance Line on 1800 018 444. https://www.emergency.nsw.gov.au/Pages/for-the-community/disaster-assistance/disaster-assistance-for-individuals.aspx

Volunteer Firefighters’ Financial Support – payments for eligible volunteer firefighters who are self-employed or employed by a small or medium business and have lost income. Contact Service NSW http://www.service.nsw.gov.au.

Mental health and wellbeing assistance – 24/7 assistance for individuals.

Mental Health Line – 1800 011 511

Beyond Blue – 1300 224 636

Lifeline – 13 11 14

Mensline – 1300 789 978

Kids Helpline – 1800 551 800

If someone is in immediate danger, call 000

Farm Gate counsellors – farmers and business owners in bushfire affected areas can access Farm Gate counsellors and peer support workers.

Contact the Mental Health Line on 1800 011 511.

“We need to get the message out that there is help available for those community members that have had their lives turned upside down by these fires – they don’t have to try and do everything on their own.” Ms Cooke said.