- 9 January 2020
Regional Development Australia Southern Inland (RDASI) has been deeply saddened to witness the destruction, damage and distress the recent bushfires have caused our community. All seven Local Government Areas in the Southern Inland region have felt the effects, with over 230,000 hectares burnt out. Homes, businesses, farms and livestock have been lost, including eight homes in the Snowy Monaro region and over 30 in the Wingecarribee. The support available and community spirit on display has been incredibly heartening and inspiring.
RDASI has compiled a comprehensive list of assistance available for volunteer firefighters, individuals, small business, non-profit organisations, sporting and recreation clubs and primary producers. Assistance is being provided by various state and federal government agencies and services.
Support includes motor vehicle stamp duty relief, free replacement of licences, permits and certificates, payments for volunteer firefighters, up to $15,000 recovery grants and concessional loans for eligible small businesses, two month lodgement and payment deferrals to taxpayers and businesses, a Disaster Recovery Payment of $1000 per adult and $400 per child and more.
We understand that the application document for the one-off Disaster Recovery Allowance and Disaster Recovery Allowance Support is an onerous one, however, we have word that if you call Centrelink directly, the process may be quicker.
Assistance has also been pledged by private organisations. Australians facing financial difficulties because of the fires are encouraged to contact their bank. Some of the support services may include a deferral of scheduled loan repayments, waiving fees and charges and deferring interest payments on a case-by-case basis.
Telecommunications companies, including Telstra, Vodafone and Optus, are providing unlimited access to emergency service websites for customers in bushfire-affected areas to avoid users going over their data limits and have also announced they will cover the costs of volunteer firefighters’ mobile services for December and January. Other private organisations, including Virgin, AirBnB and energy companies like AGL and Energy Australia have also announced a range of support packages.
“We’re experiencing unprecedented devastation bolstered by unprecedented generosity. The human spirit is well and truly on display right now. Examples of resilience, courage and strength surround us everywhere. In the Southern Highlands where I live, the outpouring of community support is extraordinary,” said CEO of RDASI, Carisa Wells.
One such example is the FireAid2020 concert on the 24th January in Bowral, organised by John Waters, and supported by RDASI, to help those affected by the bushfires. The concert will be headlined by music legends, Daryl Braithwaite, John Paul Young, Leo Sayers, Megan Washington and more. Grab your tickets here.
RDASI is assisting those affected in the recent bushfires, by distributing information, supporting local fundraising events and lobbying government and other organisations for further support.
The RDASI website is being constantly updated as new support packages are announced. If you have any questions regarding bush fire support available, please call the RDASI office on 02 4822 6397 or visit our bush fire support page.