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Australian Government support
for individuals living in regional and rural Australia

The Australian Government is committed to supporting individuals living in regional and rural Australia affected by drought and other challenges such as bushfires, floods and the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The links below take you to information on recovery assistance and the role of the National Drought and Flood Agency in helping rural Australians build resilience and get through the tough times.

Regional Recovery Officers 

The National Drought and Flood Agency’s Regional Recovery Officers give you a voice back to the Australian Government on how drought and other challenges are affecting your business, your family and your community.

Regional Recovery Officers serve as champions for their region, working with people to find locally-led solutions and deliver the support and information needed to help communities prosper.

They also play a key coordination role, working with all levels of government, health professionals, counsellors, small businesses, charities, agricultural and community organisations to ensure the Australian Government is delivering an effective on-the-ground presence.

Find out more about the officers and how they can help you here

Recovery Connect – Drought

If you are affected by drought, use Recovery Connect to find support near you from government, charities, and community organisations. Please continue to check back in as we regularly update available services.

Coronavirus supplement 

If you are a current or new recipient of Farm Household Allowance, JobSeeker Payment (previously known as Newstart Allowance), Youth Allowance Jobseeker, Parenting Payment (Partnered and Single) or Special Benefit, you are eligible to receive a $250 Coronavirus supplement each fortnight, in addition to your usual payment. Visit: www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/services/centrelink/coronavirus-supplement

Disaster Recovery Payment 

Activated when the impact of a major disaster on individuals and families requires Australian Government assistance, in addition to that provided under standard recovery assistance. The Recovery payment and the ex-gratia equivalent is a one off payment made to individuals who have been adversely affected by a declared major disaster.  www.disasterassist.gov.au/disaster-arrangements/disaster-recovery-payment

Disaster Recovery Allowance 

DRA and the ex-gratia equivalent is a short-term income support payment to assist individuals who can demonstrate a loss of income as a direct result of a major disaster.  Visit www.disasterassist.gov.au/disaster-arrangements/disaster-recovery-allowance

In Home Care program

Provides flexible care that supports families’ workforce participation and child care requirements where other options are not available or appropriate. Visit www.education.gov.au/in-home-care

Reducing super rates for pensioners 

Helps retirees to manage the impact of volatility in financial markets on their retirement savings by temporarily reducing superannuation minimum drawdown requirements. Visit www.treasury.gov.au/coronavirus/households/retirees 

Temporary reduction in superannuation minimum drawdown rates 

More flexibility for managing superannuation assets by temporarily reducing superannuation minimum drawdown requirements for account-based pensions and similar products for retirees. For more information, visit the ATO website

Health and wellbeing

The Australian Government’s COVID-19 mental health package provides support for people in rural and remote areas, and includes funding for Beyond Blue to create a dedicated coronavirus wellbeing support line.
Find out more through your local Primary Health Network: For Cornavirus support, visit www.coronavirus.beyondblue.org.au

Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment (Bushfire)

A one-off payment for people who have been injured, lost an immediate family member or suffered damage to property as a result of bushfires.
To claim, call 180 22 66 between 8am and 5pm Monday to Friday or visit www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/help-emergency/bushfires

Disaster Recovery Allowance (Bushfires) 

If you have lost income as a direct result of the bushfires, you may be eligible for the Disaster Recovery Allowance.
For more information visit www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/help-emergency/bushfires To claim, call 180 22 66 between 8am and 5pm Monday to Friday.

Bushfire property clean-up

The Australian Government is working with the New South Wales, Victorian, and South Australian Governments to share the cost of clean-up. This includes residential and commercial properties destroyed by this season’s bushfires. There is no cost to property owners for this clean-up initiative.  Property owners can register their property for clean-up by contacting organisations listed below:

Higher education support

Help for current students and university applicants who have been impacted by the bushfires may be available from their education provider or Study Assist: www.studyassist.gov.au
Students may also be able to defer or amend their HELP compulsory repayment. Scholarships of up to $18,000 are available through the Rural and Regional Enterprise Scholarships program. Special consideration will be given to students from drought and bushfire-affected communities. 
Visit: www.studyassist.gov.au To defer or amend compulsory HELP repayment: www.ato.gov.au/Individuals/Study-and-training-support-loans/Deferring-repayments 
To find out more about scholarships visit: www.education.gov.au/rural-and-regional-enterprise-scholarships

Financial counselling in bushfire-affected areas

The Australian Government is providing $10 million to increase the amount of face-to-face financial counselling services delivered in bushfire-affected areas.
If you are experiencing financial hardship, call the free National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007 (Monday to Friday 9.30am-4.30pm) or visit the National Debt Helpline website: www.ndh.org.au 
Specific financial counselling is also available to farmers affected by the bushfires. Call 1800 686 175 for a referral to the Rural Financial Counselling Service.
You can also visit the Moneysmart website for financial information and support services that can help you after a bushfire.

Better Access Telehealth Services for people in rural and remote areas 

The Australian Government is improving mental health support for people who live in rural and regional Australia by investing in Better Access services via video conferencing. 
Visit www1.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/mental-ba-telehealth

Empowering our Communities 

Delivered by selected Primary Health Networks, this program aims to increase access to mental health support initiatives to help farmers and communities deal with the anxiety, stress and uncertainty of drought conditions. Find out more through your local Primary Health Network: www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/PHN-Home

Queensland assistance

Emergency Hardship Assistance (Cat A) 

Financial assistance available for Queensland people in activated disaster areas to help with immediate and urgent needs such as food, clothing and medication. Visit www.qld.gov.au/community/disasters-emergencies/financial-assistance/immediate-hardship-assistance

Essential Household Contents Grant (Cat A) 

Financial assistance is available to help Queensland people in activated disaster areas who are uninsured or unable to claim insurance replace essential household contents. Visit www.qld.gov.au/community/disasters-emergencies/financial-assistance/essential-household-content-grant

Essential Services Hardship Assistance (Cat A) 

This grant supports Queensland people directly impacted by a disaster to meet their immediate needs where they have experienced loss of 1 or more essential services for more than 5 days. Visit www.qld.gov.au/community/disasters-emergencies/financial-assistance/essential-services-grant

Structural Assistance Grant  (Cat A) 

Financial assistance is available for Queensland people in activated disaster areas to help repair their homes and make them secure and safe to live in. Visit www.qld.gov.au/community/disasters-emergencies/financial-assistance/structural-assistance-grant

Essential Services Safety and Reconnection Scheme (Cat A) 

Financial assistance for Queensland people in activated disaster areas to help reconnect essential services such as electricity, gas, water and/or sewerage/septic systems. Visit www.qld.gov.au/community/disasters-emergencies/financial-assistance/essential-services-safety-reconnection-grant

Last updated on 4 February 2021