Australian Government assistance activated in Western Sydney for NSW floods and storms

Sunday, 21 March 2021

The Australian Government has activated the Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment (AGDRP) and Disaster Recovery Allowance (DRA) to support local government areas, including Blacktown, Blue Mountains, Camden, Campbelltown, Canterbury-Bankstown, Cumberland, Fairfield, Hawkesbury, Liverpool, Parramatta, Penrith and Wollondilly, affected by the storms and flooding across New South Wales.

The AGDRP provides a one-off, non-means tested payment of $1,000 for eligible adults and $400 for eligible children, who have been seriously injured, lost their homes or whose homes have been directly damaged, or the immediate family members of a person who has lost their life, as a direct result of the storms and floods.

The DRA provides a short-term income support payment to assist individuals whose income has been affected as a direct result of the storms and floods.

Senator for New South Wales, Senator the Hon Marise Payne, said the activation of the Australian Government’s payment schemes were a critical part of the recovery process.

“Assistance through the AGDRP and DRA will ensure support is available for those who have suffered a significant loss, including a severely damaged or destroyed home, serious injury or who have lost a family member," Senator Payne said.

“I urge all eligible residents follow only official advice, look after each other and call triple 000 in the case of an emergency.

"Since the 2019-20 bushfires, over $18 million has been directed into the bank accounts of Hawkesbury and Blue Mountains locals under the same assistance measures, so we know this package will make a real difference.

“The Australian Government is monitoring the situation closely and stands ready to provide additional assistance as required.”

People eligible for DRA can access income assistance for up to 13 weeks, equivalent to the maximum rate of JobSeeker Payment or Youth Allowance.

Equivalent financial assistance will also be available to eligible New Zealand citizens (‘non-protected’ Special Category Visa, subclass 444 holders) affected by the storms and floods.

Services Australia Disaster Assistance phone lines are open now. The fastest and easiest way to claim disaster assistance is over the phone by calling 180 22 66. Phone lines are open from 8am to 8pm local time, seven days a week.

The Australian Government will also lift mutual obligation requirements for job seekers in the Local Government Areas impacted by the NSW floods and storms from Friday 19 March until Tuesday 6 April 2021.

No job seeker in the affected areas will face payment suspension or financial penalties for failing to meet their mutual obligation requirements such as not being able to attend appointments or activities.

Assistance is also being provided through the jointly funded Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA) for the same LGAs listed above. Assistance available under the DRFA may include:

  • help for eligible people whose homes or belongings have been damaged
  • support for affected local councils to help with the costs of cleaning up and restoring damaged essential public assets
  • concessional interest rate loans for small businesses, primary producers and non-profit organisations
  • freight subsidies for primary producers, and
  • grants to eligible non-profit organisations.

Senator Payne said the storms and floods have wreaked havoc across New South Wales, with more rain on the way.

“Heavy rainfall and flooding associated with this significant weather event has cut off roads, wiped out bridges and caused widespread property damage throughout the region,” Senator Payne said.

“The DRFA assistance announced today [Sunday, 21 March 2021] will help people get back on their feet and ensure that the Parramatta and Cumberland communities can cover the costs associated with the clean-up and repairs to infrastructure.”

For more information on support available, visit servicesaustralia.gov.au/disaster.

More information on Australian Government disaster assistance is available at www.disasterassist.gov.au