Dive into our Grants for Bushfire and Drought Relief list, a carefully curated guide to aid those in need.

We have compiled a comprehensive list of sources providing grants for bushfire and drought relief to save you time and effort. This compilation aims to offer vital support during these challenging natural disasters, serving as a symbol of hope that presents potential assistance exactly when it is most needed.

Visa concessions for backpackers working in bushfire recovery

The Australian Government recently announced that working holiday makers, known as ‘backpackers,’ can now include paid or volunteer bushfire recovery work for second or third-year working holiday visa requirements. Backpackers who assist in bushfire recovery efforts can work for an additional 6 months (a total of 12 months) with the same employer or organisation. Further details regarding this matter are still pending as the government has not yet provided specific information. Workplace Relations will keep members abreast of future details. You can find more information from the Department of Home Affairs

Service NSW one-stop shop for bushfire assistance

Service NSW now has Customer Care specialists who will operate like case managers and connect bushfire-affected customers with services and support information. We include information on all the assistance offered by local councils, as well as state and federal governments. You can access this service using the existing Service NSW number 13 77 88. You can also request a call from a Bushfire Customer Care Specialist. Support offered by the NSW Government includes such services as: motor vehicle stamp duty relief; free replacement of documents; and council rates relief.

Australian Government Bushfire Support Package for Business

The Federal Government has announced that top-up grants of up to $50,000 will be available to businesses that have lost significant assets or had a major dip in revenue. The government will deliver $3.5 million to establish the Small Business Bushfire Financial Support Line as well as to fund 10 additional financial counsellors with the ability to provide advice to around 100 small businesses a day.  

Tourism recovery package

The Government has pledged $76 million towards a tourism recovery package to protect jobs, small businesses and local economies affected by the bushfires. For more information view the press release here. 

Australian Government Disaster Recovery Allowance

Disaster Recovery Allowance is a short term payment to help you if a declared disaster directly affects your income. You can get it for a maximum of 13 weeks. It’s payable from the date you lose income as a direct result of the bushfires. For more information visit the Department of Human Services website.

Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment

The Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment is a one-off payment to help you if a declared disaster significantly affects you. It’s not for minor damage or inconvenience. If you’re eligible you will get: $1,000 per adult and $400 for each child younger than 16. Read more on the Australian Government’s Department of Human Services website.

NSW Government Disaster Relief Grants

The NSW Government offers Disaster Relief Grants to eligible individuals and families. These grants will aid anyone whose homes and essential household items have suffered damage or been destroyed because of a natural disaster. To qualify for this grant, you need to meet the following criteria:

  1. You must be a low-income earner who passes an income and assets test;
  2. Prove that the affected home is your main residence;
  3. Not have relevant insurance coverage; provide evidence that the disaster caused the damage; and,
  4. Submit the application within four months of the disaster’s occurrence.

Read here for more information, including eligibility criteria.  

NSW Government Disaster Recovery Grant

Disaster recovery grants of up to $15,000 are now available to small businesses and not-for-profit organisations in LGAs affected by the NSW bushfires that have occured from 31 August 2019. To determine your eligibility, please refer to the list of Local Government Areas (LGAs) that have been affected.

Volunteer Firefighter Payment

Eligible volunteer firefighters who are self-employed or work for small and medium-sized businesses and have lost income can apply for the Volunteer Firefighter Payment. In the 2019-2020 fiscal year, these firefighters can receive up to $300 per day, with a total limit of $6000. These payments are tax-free and don’t require income verification. More information is available on the Service NSW website.

Red Cross Emergency grants

Emergency grants are open across Australia to people whose primary place of residence has beendestroyed or rendered permanently uninhabitable as the result of bushfires from 1 July 2019 to 28 February 2020. The Red Cross are providing Bereavements Payments, Emergency Grants, Repair Grants, and Injury Grants. Grants will be open until 30 April 2020 (extended until 30 June). For more information visit the Australian Red Cross website or call 1800 733 276.

Salvation Army Disaster Support

The Salvation Army provides a variety of services and assistance to individuals affected by bushfires, including:

  • Hardship Recovery Grants, Significant Loss Grants, and Total Loss Grants
    Emotional well-being support services
    Information, referrals, and advice

For additional information, you can visit the Salvation Army’s website or contact them on 1300 662 217.

St Vincent De Paul

St Vincent de Paul are offering Financial Hardship grants and Significant House Damage grants. In addition, Vinnies offers various forms of assistance, including food and grocery vouchers, clothing and bedding, toiletries and essentials, fuel vouchers, emotional support, and referrals to other services. Find out more by calling 13 18 12 or visit the St Vincent de Paul website.


Anglicare can provide trained volunteer and assistance in the form of: food; cash cards for utilities; support to pay bills; access to clothing; financial; trauma and grief counselling; and support to navigate assistance.

Bushfire Recovery Access Program – Up to 10 Mental Health Treatment Services

Starting from January 17, the Department of Health will fund Medicare benefits for up to 10 mental health treatment services. You qualify if:

  • You or your family were affected by the 2019-20 bushfires, or
  • If you’re a first responder, emergency management employee, or a volunteer who served during the 2019-20 bushfires.

The Department of Humas Services website has more information.

Further counselling support:

  • Mid North Coast and Northern NSW residents affected by bushfires can access free mental health support via the local Healthy Minds program. Call 1300 160 339 between 8.30am – 5pm Monday to Friday.
  • The NSW Rural Adversity Mental Health Program links people to appropriate mental health support in their area. RAMHP Coordinators are currently working in bushfire zones to identify and link people in need of extra support. Scroll down to the postcode locator here to find contact details for a local RAMHP Coordinator.
  • Advanced Personnel Management are offering free phone counselling to people affected by the bushfires. Call 1800 276 113.
  • People wanting to access mental health services can call the NSW Mental Health Line on 1800 011 511.
  • Beyond Blue has developed an online resource on looking after your mental health after a disaster.

Bushfire support for people with disability

IDEAS eBility Bushfire Relief website provides a Temporary Bushfire Crisis Relief Exchange site for People with Disability to donate or find accessible disability equipment in good working order and related non-perishable consumables.  The items ­– such as wheelchairs, walkers and scooters – have been donated or lent out for free. People in bushfire areas can also request wanted items. Read more on the eBility website.

NDIS Bushfire Information and Support

The bushfires are impacting a number of National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participants, their families, carers and providers. Detailed information for participants and providers affected by bushfires is available on the NDIS and disaster response page. NDIA staff are joining the Department of Human Services Mobile Service Centres and Mobile Service Teams deployed across New South Wales and Victoria. Locations are listed in the ‘NDIS assistance in bushfire affected areas.

NDIA staff providing mobile services

NDIA staff are joining the Department of Human Services Mobile Service Centres and Mobile Service Teams deployed across New South Wales and Victoria. Locations are listed in the ‘NDIS assistance in bushfire affected areas’ news item. 

Legal help for victims of natural disasters

If you have been impacted by the recent bushfires and require legal assistance, the newly established Disaster Response Legal Service NSW, operated by Legal Aid NSW, is available to offer free support. The Disaster Response Legal Service NSW can provide guidance on various matters, including:

  • Damage to your home caused by the fires (assistance available for both homeowners and tenants)
  • Insurance claims and repair-related issues
  • Employment challenges resulting from the fires
  • Assistance in renegotiating credit obligations due to income loss caused by the fires.

Call the Disaster Response Legal Service NSW on 1800 801 529 or go to the Legal Aid NSW website for more information.

Primary Producer Special Disaster grants

The Department of Primary Industries has launched a Bushfire Hub to help producers find information on emergency response, financial assistance, bushfire recovery, and health and wellbeing. Access the Bushfire Hub here.
Up to $75,000 is available to primary producers to assist with costs including fencing, repairing critical infrastructure, treating or burying livestock, buying fodder, and for orchardists, replacing netting and trees.

AgriWebb assistance for bushfire-affected producers

The AgriWebb Helping Hand Project is connecting farmers who can help, with farmers who have been affected by bushfire. Farmers can register here to assist other farmers, while those affected by bushfires can register for help – whether they need labour, agistment, feed or machinery.

Ex-Gratia Disaster Recovery Allowance

Support for New Zealanders who can show they have experienced a loss of income as a direct result of the bushfires. Ex-gratia Disaster Recovery Allowance is a short term payment to help you if a declared disaster directly affects your income. You can get it for a maximum of 13 weeks. Ex-gratia Disaster Recovery Allowance is a taxable payment. More information can be found on the Department of Human Services website.

Ex-Gratia Disaster Recovery Payment

Support for eligible New Zealanders adversely affected by the bushfires. The ex-gratia Disaster Recovery Payment is a one-off payment to help you if a declared disaster significantly affects you. It’s not for minor damage or inconvenience. You can choose to get this payment in 2 instalments if you prefer. If you’re eligible you will get: $1,000 per adult; $1,000 per partner or dependent adult; and $400 for each child under 16 years of age. The Department of Human Services website has more information.

Australian Financial Complaints Authority Bushfire Support Line

The Australian Financial Complaints Authority Bushfire Support Line 1800 337 444 can assist people affected by bushfires with complaints about financial products and services. For example, if you find yourself in a dispute with your insurer or financial provider about a claim or request for assistance. 

NAB Disaster Relief fund

NAB is providing grants of $2,000 to customers who have lost their homes to bushfire, to help cover costs such as temporary accommodation, food and clothing. They are also providing support for NAB business and agribusiness customers directly impacted by bushfires to help restart or reopen and cover the cost of damaged property, equipment, fencing – and for loss of stock or livestock. More information is available on the NAB website.

Westpac Bushfire Fund Disaster Relief Packages

The Westpac Bushfire Fund has been established with various provisions:

  • $500,000 in grants are immediately available to support customers and employees whose properties have suffered damage or been destroyed.
    Grants up to $2000 are accessible to help cover expenses such as temporary accommodation, food, and clothing.
    $300,000 is allocated to state-based volunteer fire services to continue supporting emergency workers at the front lines.
    $250,000 is committed to the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR) to provide grants that support recovery and rebuilding efforts in impacted communities.
    $100,000 has been donated to the Victoria Bushfire Appeal.
    Finally, $350,000 is earmarked for broader rebuilding and recovery support.

Read here more information on the Westpac Bushfire fund.

Westpac Disaster Relief Packages

This package includes support for Westpac customers that can include grants up to $2000, deferring loan and credit repayments, and emergency funds and accommodation for Westpac Home and Contents insurance customers. Business customers with existing loans can request loan restructuring without incurring fees and business customers with merchant facilities are eligible to receive assistance. Affected credit card customers may apply to defer repayments; Customers wishing to purchase replacement goods may apply for a personal loan at a discounted interest rate with no establishment fee; Westpac will waive interest rate adjustments for affected customers wishing to withdraw term deposits; and customers experiencing severe hardship may also be offered a halt on all interest accrual on unsecured credit products.

The Disaster Relief Package has been extended to support volunteer firefighters active in fighting the current bushfires across NSW, Victoria & South Australia and offers financial assistance to affected customers including:  Home loan repayment deferral for up to 3 months and interest waivers, fee cancellations and term extensions. For more information on Westpac’s Disaster Relief Package visit Westpac’s website.    

CommBank Bushfire Recovery Grants

Up to $50,000 grants available to assist the longer term recovery of organisations directly affected by the bushfires. Community organisations, fire services, schools, sporting clubs and non-government organisations in a bushfire affected area are eligible to apply. More information can be cound on the CommBank website.

ANZ Bushfire Relief Package

Visit your local ANZ branch if you are a customer or get in touch with the Relationship Manager if you have been impacted by bushes in any disaster-declared area. This will allow them to discuss the impact on their business or personal circumstances and explore the available support options. Read ANZ’s media release for more information.

Bank First Bushfire Assistance Package

Bank First have a financial assistance package to support customers experiencing hardship. Support available may include: Interest-free loans of up to $5000; The ability to defer loan and credit card repayments; Credit card customers can apply for an emergency credit card limit increase; Waiver of interest rate reduction for term deposit withdrawals prior to maturity; and Waiver of other fees and charges that are derived as a result of the bushfires. Customers with home and contents insured through CGU can also apply for emergency funds and temporary accommodation costs. Bank First’s website contains more information and details.

Bushfire Housing Assistance Service

The NSW Government has established the Bushfire Housing Assistance Service to support people who are temporarily or permanently displaced as a result of the NSW bushfires. The Bushfire Housing Assistance Service can help with: Emergency temporary accommodation; Assistance with a private rental bond and advance rent costs; Sourcing accommodation options from the private rental and short term housing sector, and assistance with sourcing accommodation options in your local communities or in areas where you have family or local networks. The Department of Communities and Justice website has more information.

OAKS Bushfire Accommodation Offer

Oaks Hotels, Resorts & Suites have announced that selected properties nationwide will offer complimentary rooms for those who have lost their homes. Eligible applicants are entitled to seven nights free accommodation across any Australian property of Minor Hotels, subject to blockout periods which will be notified upon enquiry. Participating properties are located in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia. The offer is redeemable from now until the end of June 2020. More information is available here.

NSW Bushfire Clean-Up

The NSW Government is coordinating the clean-up of NSW residences and businesses impacted by the NSW bushfires. This includes both insured and uninsured properties. Public Works Advisory (PWA), in consultation with property owners, is leading the clean-up effort with insurers, local government and contractors, to ensure that properties are efficiently and safely cleared. The commencement of work will take place once the firegrounds are declared safe by the Rural Fire Service. Please be aware that the expenses associated with property clearing will not be subtracted from the available funds provided by insurance policies. More information can be cound on the Service NSW website.

Insurance Council Assistance

The Insurance Council of Australia is operating a 24-hour hotline to help people impacted by the bushfires with general information about claims and recovery. Call 1800 734 621 for assistance on their Catastrophe Hotline.

Insurance Australia Group support

The Insurance Australia Group (IAG) are contacting their customers (including customers of NRMA, CGU, WFI, RACV) within impacted communities to offer emergency accommodation and financial assistance. Call IAG insurers for assistance:

Reece Grant – Bushfire Rebuild projects

The Reece Grant will be directing all funds raised until 30 June 2020 to projects dedicated to Bushfire Rebuild projects. The Reece Group have kick-started this fund with $150,000. If you, or a tradesperson you know is involved in a project to help rebuild in a community that has been affected by the Australian bushfires, you may be eligible to apply. More information is available here.

Bushfire Emergency Response Grant to Assist Indigenous Australians

The Indigenous Land and Sea Corporation (ILSC) has established an emergency response grant to provide assistance to Indigenous corporations whose properties have been directly impacted by the bushfires. A grant of up to $20,000 will be accessible to aid these corporations in promptly securing and cleaning up their damaged properties. For more information, plese refer to the National Indigenous Australians Agency website.

Indigenous Business Australia (IBA) Bushfire Crisis Support

To aid its business finance and home loan customers who have been directly affected by the ongoing bushfires, either through property loss or mandatory evacuation, IBA has introduced the Bushfire Crisis Fund, offering the following assistance:

  • Temporary suspension of loan repayments
  • Access to a $2,000 bushfire crisis grant to address immediate needs
  • Support with navigating insurance claims
  • Additional assistance for business customers, evaluated on a case-by-case basis

For more details, please refer to the Indigenous Business Australia website.

Telstra Assistance

Telstra customers impacted by bushfires are eligible for relief packages which can include one-off phone credit and free diversion from an affected phone service to another service, regardless of carrier. Volunteer firefighters have the option to have their mobile phone bills waived for the months of December 2019 and January 2020. Visit the Telstra website for more information.

Optus Assistance

Affected Optus customers are eligible for financial assistance which can include free prepaid credit, bill waivers in extreme cases, and free diversion from an affected phone service to another service, regardless of carrier. In December 2019 and January 2020, volunteer firefighters have the opportunity to have their mobile phone bills waived as well.  Read more here.

Optus have further announced the Green Shoots grants program for small business. 2000 grants will be available through the program and will include: A technology pack which includes a complimentary tablet and up to two years Optus mobile plan and/or fixed internet service; Making available our dedicated tech support team based in Australia for small businesses and Optus to extend its staff volunteer programme to enable its staff to support small businesses affected by the bushfires to get back on their feet. For further terms and conditions click here.

Vodaphone’s Firefighter Offer

Vodafone will waive any mobile network usage charges for all volunteer firefighters for their December 2019 and January 2020 bills. Further details here.

Australian Tax Office Support

For identified impacted postcodes, the ATO will automatically grant deferrals for lodgements and payments due. You, or your agent, don’t need to apply for these deferrals. Taxpayers in impacted postcodes will now have until May 28, 2020 to lodge and pay business activity statements and income tax returns. Businesses making quarterly Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) Instalments can adjust these instalments to zero for the December 2019 quarter. Additionally, they can request a refund for any instalments already made for the September 2019 quarter. Visit the ATO website for more information.

Powershop Customer Support

Actively serve as volunteer firefighters and SES volunteers can temporarily suspending all bills. Powershop is providing support to who have experienced home loss. They provide various account payment assistance options, access to their bushfire relief offer, and cover any fees related to connecting energy at new or temporary accommodation. Customers who are volunteer firefighters and SES volunteers are eligible for a one-off saving of $100 to their Powershop electricity account. Visit the Powershop website for more information.

University of Sydney Disaster Relief Bursary

Students at the University of Sydney directly impacted by the recent bushfires and are in need of financial assistance may qualify for the Disaster Relief Bursary. The value of the bursary is up to $1000 and is a one-off payment. In addition to bursary support we also offer interest free loans. For more details, please visit the University of Sydney website where you can find additional information.

National Drought and Rural Support

  • Farm Household Allowance: For farm households experiencing hardship. New assets threshold and lump sum payments up to $12,000.  Check if you are eligible
  • Rural Financial Counsellors: Helping you find and apply for funds. With an extra $5 million to support increased demand for our free services.  Contact the RFCS
  • Wellbeing: Services to give you mental and emotional support. Connecting you to the right people to help you.  Find a service
  • Drought Community Support Initiative: Eligible farming households experiencing hardship can receive up to $3,000 through selected charities. To learn more about this initiative, please read further details available.
    Regional Investment Corporation: Loans for farmers and farm business owners in financial need. Limit increased to $2 million.  Find loan options
  • Tax deductions: Special deductions and other tax support for primary producers. Managed by the Australian Taxation Office.  Check for updates
  • Pest and Weed Management: Funding measures to manage pest animals and weeds in farm communities.  Current funding priorities
  • Water infrastructure: Rebates for on-farm water infrastructure. $50 million in funding over 3 years.  How to access rebates

For more information on all of the above grants visit the Department of Agriculture’s website.    

NSW Drought Assistance

  • Through the Drought Assistance Fund, the NSW Government is providing a $50,000 interest-free loan. The loan has a seven-year term, and no repayments are required for the first two years. This loan can be used for purposes such as:
    • transporting stock,
    • fodder and water,
    • genetic banking of breeding herds, and
    • installing on-farm fodder and water infrastructure. 
  • The NSW Government has introduced the Farm Innovation Fund, which offers a loan scheme for infrastructure projects. The funding is aimed at enhancing on-farm efficiency, building resilience, and preparing for dry conditions. The scheme provides funding of up to $1 million per project for various capital works such as sheds, silos, and water storage.
  • Low interest loans to support farmers in their preparation, management, and recovery from drought through the Regional Investment Corporation
  • The Animal Welfare Transport Subsidy, provided by the NSW Government, covers 50% of eligible costs for transporting livestock off financially distressed farms with livestock at fat score 2 or below (dairy cattle 3 or below). The subsidy has a maximum limit of $20,000 per financial year.
  • The Domestic Water Carting Rebate offers eligible landholders a $2,000 rebate to assist with the expenses of water carting or the installation of infrastructure for domestic water supplies.
  • The rebate will be applicable to landholders who usually rely on regulated rivers for domestic water supply but are currently experiencing water flow cessation as a drought precautionary measure.
  • The NSW Government is providing support for donated fodder transport, covering the expenses when transport providers collaborate with community groups to deliver fodder from within NSW to drought-affected properties. The subsidy will cover the full cost, up to $5 per kilometer, for distances of up to 1500 kilometers.
  • Farmers can benefit from the Drought Transport Subsidy provided by the NSW Government, which covers the costs associated with transporting fodder, water for stock or domestic use, stock to and from agistment, and stock for sale or slaughter. Effective from 1 July 2019, the subsidy will expand to encompass the transportation of farm chemicals, fertilizers, and seed to farms.
  • Through the Farm Business Skills Professional Development Program, the NSW Government will subsidize up to 50% of eligible costs for approved courses or activities. Farmers can receive a maximum reimbursement of $5,000 per farmer and $9,000 per farm business.
  • The Australian and NSW Governments have introduced the On-Farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate to assist drought-affected farmers in enhancing productivity and resilience. Farmers, particularly those involved in horticulture or addressing animal welfare, can receive a 25% refund of up to $25,000 for new water infrastructure projects through this rebate. This initiative aims to provide support to farmers during the ongoing drought period and enhance their preparedness for future dry conditions.
  • Under the On-Farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate scheme, you can utilize the funds to cover expenses related to the purchase and installation of items such as pipes, water storages, water pumps, de-silting dams, and power supplies like generators.
  • The NSW Government is offering farmer and regional businesses skills training subsidies to pursue new or updated career opportunities.

For more information on all of the above grants and subsidies visit the Department of Primary Industries website.