Support and assistance

If you're experiencing hardship, there is assistance available, including financial, health and wellbeing, housing, legal, food, utilities and transport. 

See below for more details:

Financial assistance (general and for COVID-19 and disaster)

Council rates relief 
Residents experiencing financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic can contact Council to check their eligibility for a rates payment plan. Phone our Customer Service team on (02) 4993 4100 and someone from our Rates team will call you back by the next business day. For more information, please read our Hardship Policy(PDF, 289KB) or visit our Paying your rates page

Services Australia (Centrelink)

Services Australia can provide information about available subsidies and financial support if you or your family is financially impacted by COVID-19. This includes:

Australian Tax Office 
The Australian Tax Office can provide information about available subsidies and financial support if you or your family is affected financially by COVID-19 or disaster.

NSW Government COVID-19 Support Package
The NSW Government will provide financial assistance, support measures and tax relief to help businesses and people across the state impacted by the current COVID-19 restrictions.  For more information visit the NSW Government website.

Service NSW
Service NSW provides financial assistance for those impacted by disaster. These include:

  • Disaster assistance to those with limited financial resources and no insurance.
  • Eligible individuals and families whose homes have been significantly damaged or destroyed can apply for disaster relief grants.
  • If you're having difficulty paying your household energy bill because of a short-term financial crisis brought on by COVID-19 or disaster, you could also be eligible for an EAPA $50 voucher under the Energy Accounts Payment Assistance (EAPA) Scheme
  • Seniors Energy Rebate is also available to help cover the cost of electricity for Commonwealth Seniors Health Card holders. 
  • Find out about the residential tenancy support package.

 NSW Rural Assistance Authority 
If you are unable to obtain assistance through other channels, you can apply to the NSW Rural Assistance Authority for assistance with with concessional rate loans.

Farm Household Support
The Federal Government's Department of Human Services provides assistance to eligible farmers and their families facing financial difficulties through the Farm Household Allowance.

Energy & Water Ombudsman 
The Energy & Water Ombudsman can provide support for customers impacted by COVID-19. 

Service NSW Support Service Specialist (SSS) - Brooke Moy - Cessnock SSS 
Brooke can help you with enquiries about support available through Service NSW, including the Cost of Living Program, which looks at where savings can be made across many different service providers including electricity, gas, telephone, insurance, discounts, etc. Phone 13 77 88

Personal Financial Counselling 
If you are having trouble paying bills, finding it hard to manage money, need help with debt. Phone 0437 368 967 to make an appointment.

Health and wellbeing

NSW Rural Mental Health Services - 1800 201 123
Contact this organisation if you require access to mental health services and support. 

Mental Health Line - 1800 011 511
For assessment and referral to mental health services.

Domestic Violence Line - 1800 656 463
Provides counselling and referral services for women experiencing domestic violence. 

Mensline Australia - 1300 789 978
Telephone and online counselling, information and referral service for men (24h)

Suicide Call Back Service - 1300 659 467
Telephone and online support service for those at risk of suicide

Australian Red Cross - 1800 812 028
Red Cross can provide personal support if you or your family have been affected by a disaster. 

Salvation Army - 1300 363 622
The Salvos can provide mental health support and assistance if you or your family have been affected by a disaster.

Headspace Maitland - 02 4931 1000
Headspace centres act as a one-stop shop for young people who need help with mental and physical health, alcohol and other drugs or work and study support. 

Lifeline - 13 11 14
Lifeline provides free, 24-hour telephone crisis support services. 

Police Assistance Line - 131 444
Contact the Police Assistance Line if you are a victim of a crime, other than life threatening or time critical emergency situations.

Disability Information Helpline - 1800 643 787

Provides information and referrals for people with disability who need help during COVID-19. 

TIS - 131 450

Provides access to phone and on-site interpreting services in over 150 languages

1800 RESPECT 24/71800 737 732

24-hour phone and online service providing confidential sexual assault and domestic & family violence counselling, information & referrals.


QLife - 1800 184 527

Australia-wide anonymous and free LGBTI peer support for people wanting to talk about sexuality, identity, gender, bodies, feelings or relationships. Call or webchat 3pm-12am. 

Aboriginal DFV Hotline -1800 019 123 
24-hour phone service for Aboriginal victims of crime. 

NSW Rape Crisis - 1800 424 017  (02) 9181 43 49 - TTY 
24-hour phone and online counselling service for anyone who is at risk of or has experienced sexual assault, family or domestic violence.


Compass Housing - Homelessness Access Program - 1800 718 207
Provides accommodation to assist those sleeping rough or experiencing homelessness to self-isolate during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Communities and Justice NSW, Housing Contact Centre - 1800 422 322 
Department of Communities and Justice - Housing (DCJ Housing) provides a range of housing solutions for both the private rental market and Public Housing, Community Housing and Aboriginal Housing.

Link2home (Department of Family and Community Services) - 1800 152 152
Link2home provides assistance to people who are homeless or at risk of being homelessness by offering access to specialised support and accommodation services. 

Carrie’s Place - 02 4934 2585 (office hours) or 02 4933 1960 (after hours)
Carrie’s Place provides domestic violence and homelessness services.

Hunter Tenants Advice and Advocacy Service Advice line - 02 4969 7666 or 1800 654 504

NSW Fair Trading - 13 32 20
Residential Tenancy Support package applies to eligible COVID-19 impacted tenants and landlords. It includes a freeze on evictions and assistance for landlords who reduce rent. Visit the website

Sanctuary Place - 0401 020 400
Sanctuary Place provides safe, secure and dignified long and short term housing. Helping every Australian to have the security of a safe house to come home to, no matter their circumstance.

Legal and consumer services

Legal Aid - 1300 888 529 or 02 4993 3400
Legal Aid can provide free legal advice on a broad range of issues including dealing with insurance companies,mortgage payments and tenancy advice. The service also visits the Cessnock Samaritans Information Neighbourhood Centre. 

Hunter Community Legal Centre02 4040 9120 
Provides free legal support in domestic violence, family law, credit and debt, traffic, fines and more.

NSW Fair Trading - 13 32 20 
Provides assistance and advice to consumers and business on fair and ethical practice. 

Law Access - 1300 888 529
Law Access NSW is a free telephone service that provides information for legal problems and contact details for services that might be able to assist.

Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Services - 1800 938 227 
Information, advocacy and referrals to assist women and their children who are or have been experiencing domestic and family violence, with their legal, social and welfare needs.

Local food, utilities and clothing

Cessnock Samaritans Information & Neighbourhood Centre - 02 4993 3400
124 Vincent Street, Cessnock
Emergency Relief Service provides short term emergency financial assistance including food and utilities vouchers. An assessment is required to determine eligibility. 

Kurri Kurri Community Centre - 02 4937 4555
251 Lang St Kurri Kurri
Low cost food and household goods available for pension/benefit card holders. Emergency food relief may also be available.  

Salvation Army - 1300 371 288
The Salvo's can provide short term emergency assistance such as food items. Call for assessment.

Food War Inc. Cessnock(02) 4966 2987
137 Vincent Street, Cessnock.
Low cost groceries for pension/benefit card holders. Open 9:30am to 3pm, Tuesday to Friday. 

Foodcare Weston - 0481 102 632

53 Station Street, Weston. 
Low cost groceries for pension/benefit card holders.

Soupz On 

Baptist Church Hall, Corner King and Cooper Street, Cessnock.
Free meals available Friday/Saturday/Monday nights from 5- 8pm  Check Facebook group to stay up-to-date. 

Youth Off The Streets0477 389 170 
Food relief available 2 days per week

Northern Coalfields Community Care Association - (02) 4019 9700
Meals on wheels and home care support services.

Rotary Club of Cessnock
Marthaville Arts and Cultural Centre, 200 Wollombi Road, Cessnock
Free scones, tea and chat available for people in need. Fridays, 10am to 12pm.

BBQ lunch in the park
Cumberland Street car park, at the rear of Alira House, 116 Vincent Street, Cessnock. 
Free BBQ lunch available Wednesdays 10am to 12pm  

Hunter Food Relief
Cessnock Bellbird Uniting Church – Corner Cooper and Cumberland St Cessnock. 
Tuesday 9am to 1pm Wednesday 2.30 to 3.30pm Thursday 12pm to 3pm. Free meals, food, groceries and social support available for people in need. 


Wollombi Connect Bus Service 
0499 359 659 or to register.
Every second Thursday leaves Laguna Community Hall at 9:30am (via Wollombi Tennis Club at 9:45am),  returns North Ave Cessnock (near Westpac) at 1:30pm (via Wollombi Tennis Club at 2:15pm).  Bookings are essential. $7.50 one way, or $15.00 return.

Lower Hunter Transport Services
Subsidised door to door transport for people and carers who find it difficult to use main stream services due to frailty, age, functional disability and for people with no access to a private car or unable to use public transport. For more information contact 4017 9750 or