Practical Help with Recovery for Residents

In response to the heavy rain and floods in March 2022:

A lump sum payment is now available for eligible people living in the Blue Mountains and Hawkesbury seriously affected by flooding through the Services Australia website.  You might also be eligible for a Disaster Relief Grant through Resilience NSW. To check, see this website.

Service NSW has a tool to help find a personalised list of available programs and services  and you can also call 13 77 88.  The Disaster Assistance Finder  can also help with finding what you may be eligible to receive.  For advice on insurance claims, visit the Insurance Council of Australia’s website.

Centrelink has advised its emergency information line is open if you need help claiming the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment or if you’re affected by a natural disaster. Call 180 22 66 if you’re affected by a natural disaster and need to claim a payment from Monday to Friday, 8am to 7pm, or Saturday and Sunday, 10am to 4pm.

If you are experiencing water supply or wastewater-related issues, contact Sydney Water on 13 20 90.

Anyone who needs help with stock or animal welfare issues impacted by the floods can contact the Agricultural and Animal Services Hotline on 1800 814 647.

For those who might find wildlife in need due to flooding, increased rainfall and heavy winds, WIRES can be contacted on 1300 094 737. You can also report a rescue online.

Legal Aid can also assist with insurance claims and disputes, financial hardship, tenancy and Centrelink. Visit the  Disaster Response Legal Service or phone 1800 801 529.

From 5 March, residents in flood-affected areas can contact Service NSW to log NSW SES clean-up requests and seek essential items. The Service NSW call centre will be open for extended hours, from 9am-10pm on weekends and 7am-10pm daily.

Residents can log a resupply or clean up request with Service NSW by completing this short online form or calling 13 77 88. 

 Bushfire & Other Disaster Recovery Assistance:

Bushfire Customer Care Service

For people impacted by bushfire, the NSW Bushfire Customer Care Service will help you navigate the support and financial assistance that’s available across all levels of government.  

This service is delivered by Service NSW.  It offers one-on-one support for people and businesses, available over the phone or inperson.

Call 13 77 88
7am to 7pm every day

or visit the Service NSW website for locations of Service NSW, and Mobile Service Centres.

All recovery services can now be accessed via Service NSW. However, if you prefer to continue contacting an agency directly, you can still do so. 

Local Emergency & Recovery Info

Blue Mountains City Council Emergency & Recovery Information 2019-20 provides information on preparing for emergencies, what to do if faced with an emergency and assistance after a bush fire. 

Download:   pdf icon BMCC Bush Fire Recovery Guide - 20 Feb 2020

Legal Services/Resources for Blue Mountains' Residents

Tenancy issues: information from the Tenants Union of NSW about your rights here. For advice, contact Blue Mountains Tenancy Advice line is 4704 0201, South Western Tenants Advice Service (Lithgow and further west) on 1300 483 786, or the Western Aboriginal Tenants Advice and Advocacy service number on  6884 0969 (mid mountains and further west).

Accessing Centrelink benefits: the National Social Security network have developed a factsheet here about the range of Centrelink payments available. Welfare Rights Centre advice line number is 9211 5300.
Insurance concerns: Financial Rights Legal Centre has a recently updated guide here. Financial rights also run the Insurance Law service, which can be contacted on 1300 663 464
General and other concerns: Call the Legal Aid Disaster Response Legal Service Hotline 1800 801 529.  
​Services on the ground: Staff from EECLC and the Legal Aid Disaster Response Service are also attending community recovery meetings in affected areas in Lithgow and the Blue Mountains. EECLC also has regular outreaches at Lithgow Information and Neighbourhood Centre on Tuesdays and Lithgow Community Projects on Thursdays, and the advice line number is 4704 0207. 

Government Financial Assistance for Individuals, Families & Firefighters

Pease note, a number of these measures have eligibility requirements.

Commonwealth Government Disaster Recovery Payment

$1,000 per adult and $400 per child for people severely affected by bushfires. An additional $400 will also be provided for children, this payment will be applied automatically.

Call the Bushfire Customer Care Service on 13 77 88, or Human Services: 180 22 66

Commonwealth Government Disaster Recovery Allowance

The Disaster Recovery Allowance has been activated by the Australian Government for people affected by the NSW Bush Fires.  This provides short term support payment to assist those whose income has been affected as a direct result of the bush fires.

Call the Bushfire Customer Care Service on 13 77 88 or Human Services: 180 2266 or

NSW Government Disaster Relief Grants

Grants are available for eligible individuals and families whose homes and essential household contents have been damaged or destroyed by a natural disaster.  

To be eligible for this assistance you must:

• Be a low-income earner and meet an income assets test
• Demonstrate that the affected home is your principal place of residence
• Not be covered by insurance
• Demonstrate that the damage was caused by the disaster
• Lodge the application within four months of the disaster occurring

Call the Bushfire Customer Care Service on 13 77 88
Or Disaster Welfare Assistance Line on 1800 018 444.

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.

Call the Bushfire Customer Care Service on 13 77 88 

Stamp duty relief

The NSW Government is providing stamp duty relief of up to $55,000 for people who lost their homes during bushfires and who choose to purchase a replacement home elsewhere rather than rebuild. If they do decide to buy a replacement home, they can do so without the added financial burden of paying stamp duty..

Call the Bushfire Customer Care Service on 13 77 88

Motor vehicle stamp duty relief

Financial assistance for eligible motorists whose cars have been written off as a result of bushfires.

Call the Bushfire Customer Care Service on 13 77 88


Clean-up of properties - Residential and Commercial


Habitat for Humanity Australia are partnering with Step By Step Bushfire Recovery Service, with teams of volunteers helping clear and repair properties across the Blue Mountains, Hawkesbury, Lithgow and Mid Western Region.  For more information on the work of Habitat for Humanity, or for any support with the impacts of the fires across the region, call Step By Step on 0417 298 832.  

Download:  pdf icon  Step by Step Partner with Habitiat for Humanity Australia - Media Release.

The NSW Government and the Commonwealth are jointly covering the clean-up cost of insured and uninsured residential and eligible commercial (small business and primary production) properties destroyed in the NSW bushfires since 1 July 2019

Destroyed or damaged buildings on a property that are the primary residences or places of business, and any associated debris, will be safely cleaned up and removed. As necessary, work may include:

 removal of known hazardous materials, including asbestos
 removal of materials destroyed by bush fire and hazardous trees near the destroyed or damaged primary residence or place of business
 removal of damaged driveways that could impact on the safety of the clean-up
 with consent of building owners, removal of concrete slab foundations.

You need to opt in to the clean-up program and register your property. You can do this by calling Service NSW on 13 77 88 or visit

Laing O’Rourke has been appointed to lead the clean-up. If you’re not able to register through Service NSW, Laing O’Rourke will help with your registration directly when they are on the ground in your location.

Once you’ve registered:
1. Laing O’Rourke staff will contact you to discuss the damage and assess your eligibility.
2. Once the area is declared safe, they will meet with you on site.
3. You approve the scope of works.
4. The clean-up of the property will commence.
5. You confirm the completion of the agreed scope of works.

Laing O’Rourke will always pre-arrange any household visits and will not turn up unannounced or demand payment.

Safety considerations for the property owner:

 Do not enter your property until you are advised that it is safe to do so by emergency services, utilities companies or your local council.
 Electrical hazards could exist such as live power lines that may be down or active solar panels.
 Buildings and other structures may be unstable to enter or walk over.
 Sewerage and septic systems may be disrupted causing health risks.
 Be aware that hot, smouldering coals and other potentially hazardous materials may be hidden under the rubble.
 Building rubble should not be buried as it may contain hazardous materials.
 Waste generated as a result of the bushfires needs to go to lawful facilities to ensure soil, water and human health is protected.
 Don’t spread ash around your property, particularly if asbestos materials were used in your home or other structures, or CCA-treated timber was burnt.
 Moisten the ash with water to minimise dust and keep damp but do not use high pressure water sprays.
 Asbestos dust and fibres have the potential to present a health risk during and after a fire if not properly managed.
 Asbestos clean-up and removal must be done by a licensed asbestos removalist.

Fire retardant information - Coloured foam dropped from the air to suppress / slow fires may have landed on some properties.  This type of retardant is basically a fertiliser. Coloured foam will need to be flushed from roofs and water sources.  To prevent any retardant or ash getting into water tanks, residents should disconnect their downpipe/s from water tank/s, so that the first flush (either rain or washing) does not wash anything from the roof into tanks.

  • Disaster Welfare Assistance Line: 1800 018 444

Domestic water assistance - If your potable water has been used by a fire fighting agency to fight the fire, you may be eligible to have it replaced. This assistance is for residential properties in rural areas.

  • Call the Disaster Welfare Assistance Line:  1800 018 444



Are you insured?

Yes, I’m insured…
If you are insured talk to your insurance company as soon as possible about how to make a claim. Take photos or video of damage to your property and possessions as evidence for your claim. If you have clearance from your insurer and evidence for your claim, you can start cleaning up.

  • The Insurance Council of Australia can be contacted with any questions, complaints or concerns about insurance on 1800 734 621.
  • Legal Aid NSW can provide free legal advice and minor assistance to people affected by disasters on a range of issues, including insurance, on 1800 801 529.

No, I’m not insured…
NSW Government Disaster Relief Grants are available for eligible individuals and families whose homes and essential household contents have been damaged or destroyed by a natural disaster.

To be eligible for this assistance you must:

 Be a low-income earner and meet an income assets test
 Demonstrate that the affected home is your principal place of residence
 Not be covered by insurance
 Demonstrate that the damage was caused by the disaster
 Lodge the application within four months of the disaster occurring

  • Disaster Welfare Assistance Line: 1800 018 444

Emergency temporary accommodation

Emergency accommodation is available to people who have been directly by a natural disaster. This includes fires and floods..

The Natural Disaster Housing Assistance Service can also help with rental bond loans and advance rent..

  • Disaster Welfare Assistance Line: 1800 018 444

Replacing personal documents

Service NSW can help replace many of your personal documents free of charge if they were damaged or destroyed. This includes birth certificates, marriage certificates, licences and number plates.

  • Service NSW: 13 77 88

Animal welfare

Local Land Services can assist with emergency fodder, stock water and assessment of animals impacted by the fire. Landholders are also encouraged report any stock losses or animal welfare issues.

  • Local Land Services: 1800 814 647

Disaster relief low interest loans through the NSW Rural Assistance Authority of up to $130,000 are available to eligible primary producers and small businesses, and transport subsidies of up to 50% of the cost to transport livestock or fodder, to eligible primary producers.

  • Agriculture and Animal Services Hotline: 1800 678 593

Community Recovery Information from the NSW Office of Emergency Management

Download: the Community Information Newsletter:

pdf iconNewsletter #1 - 13 Dec 2019

pdf iconNewsletter #2 - 24 Dec 2019

pdf iconNewsletter #3 - 10 Jan 2020

pdf iconNewsletter #4 - 4 Feb 2020

pdf iconNewsletter #5 - 10 Mar 2020

pdf icon Newsletter #6 - 26 Mar 2020

This recovery information is for people recently impacted by bush fires in the Hunter, Greater Sydney and South East NSW regions.

Useful Bushfire Recovery Info websites

Blue Mountains City Council is the official source of local bushfire recovery information in the Blue Mountains 

For more recovery information and updates visit:   
Facebook: @NSWDisasterRecovery




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