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.

Michael Hogan, Director General of the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services has provided the following overview of his department's budget services for peak and partner organisations. The department's total operating expenditure for 2016-17 is $2.818 billion, representing...
Now in its fifth year, The Salvation Army's Economic and Social Impact Survey (ESIS) surveyed more than 1,600 clients across Australia. The report revealed “disturbing new statistics on the level of poverty in Australia”, showing that some disadvantaged Australians are living on just $17 a day. “...
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nib foundation's Community Grant program aims to support locally-based initiatives which will make a positive difference to the health and wellbeing of Australian communities, with a focus on the health of young people, and carers. A Community Grant round is held each year and applications are...
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HESTA community Sector Awards recognise Australia's outstanding contributors to the community sector. The awards are an opportunity to publicly acknowledge the inspirational work individuals and organisations provide to the broader community, supporting those who need it most. If you know a...
Government, business and Not for Profits need to do more to address the medium and long-term economic cost and social impact of natural disasters, according to a new report by the Australian Business Roundtable for Disaster Resilience and Safer Communities. The Roundtable report said the annual...
Farmers will now have access to more simplified information about localised support during natural disasters and drought, thanks to a new website developed by the Queensland Farmers' Federation (QFF) and funded by the Queensland Government. The farmerdisastersupport.org.au website presents the full...
Flooded houses
The Queensland Government has made improvements to community recovery after a disaster or emergency. This includes more sophisticated disaster mapping and clearer eligibility criteria for financial assistance which means help can go more efficiently to those suffering genuine hardship. Referrals...
MORE support has been announced for financial counselling in drought-stricken regions in Queensland. An extra $730,000 in funding has been provided for Rural Financial Counselling Service (RFCS) providers in Queensland to continue to help farmers battling drought across the State. Times of drought...
Drought
Queensland Government media release The Palaszczuk Government is giving charities in drought-hit areas of Queensland $50,000 to help those in need as a result of the record dry. Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries Leanne Donaldson said both Anglicare and Lifeline Darling Downs charities would...
Farmer in drought
“You can’t live without hope things will change for the better”: Colin Hay: ‘Next Year People’ Published in Anti-Poverty Week 2015, this short report by Sandy Paton from CentacareCQ reprises “Drought and Poverty in Central Western Queensland: Regional Development Area Fitzroy Central West”...

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