Emergency relief helps people deal with their immediate financial crisis situation in a way that maintains the dignity of the individual and encourages self-reliance.

There are over 700 community and charitable organisations around Australia providing Emergency Relief services.

Emergency relief assistance is generally in the form of:

  • purchase vouchers of a fixed value (for example, food, transport or chemist vouchers)
  • part-payment of an outstanding account (for example rent/accommodation, utility account/s)
  • material assistance such as household goods, food parcels or clothing
  • budgeting assistance
  • information, advocacy and referrals.

Emergency relief activities are also an important gateway to other support services such as:

  • financial counselling, microfinance and matched savings initiatives
  • financial literacy programs
  • drug and alcohol support
  • crisis accommodation
  • mental health services
  • family support services.

In this section you will find current news, resources and other information relevant to those working in emergency situations.

Find your nearest emergencyrRelief service by calling 1300 653 227 (local call cost only) and ask to be put through to your local state office.

Disaster relief and other payments

The Australian Government is responsible for administering a range of emergency relief payments and services, from disaster relief to domestic and family violence or crisis support. 

Emergency relief handbook

ACOSS have produced an Emergency Relief Handbook which they regularly update. The most recent edition was published in 2011. The handbook covers topics such as how to administer emergency relief, the role of an emergency relief organisation, workers' responsibilities, clients rights, training and financial management.

Social security

Pensions and allowances are available to permenant residents meeting specific criteria in emergency situations. These are administered by the Department of Human Services through Centrelink Offices.

Immediate hardship assistance

The state and federal government as well as many charities provide emergency relief for people experiencing severe hardship.  This assistance is brokered through local community services. 

Essential household contents grant

Financial assistance is available through the essential household contens grant to help people in activated disaster areas who are uninsured or unable to claim insurance to replace essential household contents.

Structural assistance grant

Those who are uninsured or unable to claim insurance may be eligible for a one-off payment as a contribution towards repairs to their home to make it secure and safe.

Electricity, gas and water bill information

The Queensland Council of Social Service has compiled a set of resources to provide information on the cost of living issues associated with essential services, and to assist people experiencing difficulty with an electricity, gas or water bill.

There are also links to information on other essential service costs, such as transport and telecommunications.

People who are uninsured or unable to claim insurance may be eligible for an essential services safety and reconnection grant to hep reconnect essential services that were damaged by a disaster.

Emergency volunteering

Volunteering Queensland have launched the Emergencing Volunteering website and app, where you can register to help your local community in times of disaster, as well as checking how prepared you are in your home or business.

Natural disasters and mental health

The aftermath of the trauma associated with natural disasters can be ongoing emotional and mental health issues. Mindhealthconnect provides some resources on how to develop resilience and coping with the stress of natural disasters.

No Interest Loans Scheme (NILS) and microfinance

The No Interest Loans Scheme (NILS®) provides interest-free loans for individuals or families on low income. It is a community-based program that enables people to access fair, safe and equitable credit for the purchase of goods and services. The service is administered nationally by Good Shepherd Youth and Family Service with the support of the National Australia Bank. 

Find out more about NILS and other micro-finance programs.

Christmas and the holiday season can be a challenging time of year for many people. A number of services are available to help those in need during this time. 13Family (13 32 64) hotline Mums and Dads across Queensland are urged to call 13Family (13 32 64) for extra support if times are tough this...
People struggling to pay their bills and debts will now find it easier to access trustworthy information and advice that will help them get back on top. Financial Counselling Australia, with special guest Paul Clitheroe, has launched the new National Debt Helpline website and national brand for the...
ACCAN and Infoxchange have come together to produce a report focusing on the more than 427,000 dwellings (about 5 per cent of housing stock) in Australia which fall into the category of social housing – housing provided by the government and community sectors to accommodate people in the lowest...
Not-for-profit Law has updated its guide to 'The laws of advertising and your community organisation'. The resource provides practical tips to help organisations comply with the laws of advertising and marketing in Australia. Importantly, these laws apply to many fundraising activities of charities...
Queensland Council of Social Service (QCOSS) is thrilled that more than 150,000 Queensland families will receive a rebate on their electricity bills as part of new state government policy. Following recommendations from QCOSS, the existing $330 Electricity Rebate will be extended to include...
Many people who access help from community legal centres are likely to have unmanageable State Penalties Enforcement Registry (SPER) debts, as a result of their interactions with the criminal justice system and limited financial capacity. In this webinar, Cameron Lavery from QPILCH goes through the...
While they only make up 6 per cent of homeless people, people sleeping rough are the most visible form of homelessness. According to the 2011 Census 105,237 people were homeless in Australia five years ago with the number of those sleeping rough reaching 6,813. Since then, the figures have...
Two new Good Money community finance stores will respond to the increasing need for access to fair and affordable financial services for Queenslanders on low incomes. The stores are a three-way partnership between Good Shepherd Microfinance, the National Australia Bank (NAB) and the Queensland...
The National No-Interest-Loan-Scheme (NILS) conference was recently held in June 2016 in Adelaide. The presentations from the conference workshops are now available: Marketing masterchef Are social enterprises the answer? Financial conversations Are you making an ethical decision? The good and the...
Disaster resilience is "the ability of individuals, communities, organisations, or countries exposed to disasters and crises and underlying vulnerabilities to: anticipate, reduce the impact of, cope with, and recover from the effects of adversity without compromising their long-term prospects." (...

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Are you looking for support in Queensland, or trying to find a service that meets your needs? Now you can search oneplace , the service directory hosted by the Queensland Family and Child Commission. oneplace is an easily accessible directory of community services to help Queensland families to get...
The Financial Counsellors' Association of Queensland is the peak professional body representing the membership of 74 Financial Counsellors throughout inner city, suburban and regional Queensland. The FCAQ is also a not for profit organisation whose members provide a fee and accessible financial...
The Welfare Rights Centre is: a community service organisation, providing specialist advice and advocacy to people having problems with social security; a free legal service, offering advice and, in some matters, representation at tribunals and courts for people having problems...
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Carly Allen gives some tips for community sector workers who have clients experiencing electricity hardship. Click on the image below to access the podcast.
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