Crisis, disaster and recovery assistance

The following providers can help if you or your family require disaster assistance:

Cessnock Bushfire Community Recovery and Resilience Grant

Grants are now available for up to $10,000 to assist with disaster recovery and building resilience. The grants are aimed at supporting communities overcome the social impacts of bushfires.


Applications close on 14 May 2021.


To apply applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Located within the Cessnock Local Government Area
  • The project must align with a Disaster Recovery Outcome
  • Maximum funding per project is $10,000
  • Must be a not-for-profit organisation, local community group, business chamber or industry/peak body
  • Applicant must have ability to report on the progress and agreed outcomes of the project

Contact Council’s Community Recovery Officer, Melissa Boucher on 4993 4100 or email for additional information.


View the Cessnock Bushfire Community Recovery and Resilience Grant Application.(PDF, 141KB)


March 2021 Flood Recovery Assistance

Important Contacts 

Emergency Assistance – 000
SES – 132 500
Disaster Customer Care Service – 13 77 88
Disaster Assist - 
AASFA for emergency animal assistance – 1800 814 647 
Local Land Services (LLS) - 1300 795 299 
Rural Assistance Authority (RAA) – 1800 678 593

Disaster Recovery Payments 

$1,000 for adults and $400 for children 
Support for people adversely affected in the floods in NSW March 2021 is available. The payment is a lump sum payment to help you following a declared disaster. If you're eligible you'll get $1000 per adult and $400 per child. For more information on how to claim, visit Services Australia or phone 180 22 66

Disaster Recovery Allowance 
Short-term income support for 13 weeks 
The Disaster Recovery Allowance provides a short-term income support payment to assist individuals whose income has been affected as a direct result of the storms and floods, for up to 13 weeks. Visit Services Australia or phone 180 22 66 to find out if you are eligible. 

Disaster Relief Grant 

Always-on assistance for eligible applicants in any emergency 
The Disaster Relief Grant helps people to recover from the effects of a disaster and re-establish a basic standard of living. It is not provided to replace insurance or compensate for losses. You may be eligible for financial support if the following apply: 

  • your home (primary place of residence) was damaged by a natural disaster
  • you do not have insurance for the damage
  • you are a low-income earner with limited financial resources
  • it has been less than four (4) months since the disaster

Phone 13 77 88 and ask about the Disaster Relief Grant administered by Resilience NSW. 

Primary Producer Disaster Recovery Grant

Disaster recovery grants of up to $75,000 
Disaster recovery grants of up to $75,000 are now available to primary producers in LGAs affected by the NSW storms and floods that have occurred from 10 March 2021. Apply direct online via the Rural Assistance Authority or phone Service NSW on 13 77 88 and ask for the Primary Producer Disaster Recovery Grant administered by the Rural Assistance Authority.

Farm Household Allowance

The Farm Household Allowance (FHA) program provides assistance to farming families experiencing financial hardship, no matter the cause of that hardship. The program provides eligible farmers and their partners with a package of assistance that includes:

  • Up to four years of fortnightly income support (in every 10 year period) 
  • Ancillary allowances such as Pharmaceutical Allowance, Telephone Allowance, Rent Assistance and Remote Area Allowance 
  • A professional financial assessment of the farm business (worth up to $1,500) 
  • Funding to help develop skills, access training and pay for professional advice (up to $10,000 and can now include reasonable travel and accommodation to undertake training) 
  • Regular support of a case manager 

For further information visit Farm Household Allowance - Department of Agriculture

Business loans and financial assistance 

Primary producers 
Primary producers may be eligible for urgent loans at a concessional interest rate and transport subsidies for the carriage of livestock, fodder and supplements for dairy cattle. Visit the NSW Rural Assistance Authority website or more information or call 1800 678 593. You can also download the Primary Producers Assistance Guide for more information. 

Small businesses 
Urgent loans are available at a concessional interest rate to eligible small businesses. Visit the NSW Rural Assistance Authority website for more information or call 1800 678 593

Non-profit organisations 
Loan assistance is available to churches and voluntary non-profit organisations for the  restoration of essential facilities. Visit the NSW Rural Assistance Authority website for more information or call 1800 678 593

Sporting clubs 
A grant or a concessional fixed rate loan is available for sporting and recreation clubs and  associations for clean-up, removal of debris and/or restoring essential facilities. To access an application for grant assistance, contact NSW Treasury by email at learn more about loan assistance, contact the NSW Rural Assistance Authority on 1800 678  593 or (02) 6391 3000 or email

Legal support 

LawAccess NSW 
Businesses can contact LawAccess NSW on 1300 888 529 to discuss legal support that may be available from various legal bodies in NSW, Community Legal Centres and other free legal assistance services in your immediate area. 

Legal Aid NSW
Legal Aid NSW's Disaster Response Legal Service provides free legal advice to businesses and individuals affected by disasters on a range of issues including insurance, tenancy, credit and debt problems, and Centrelink. Visit Legal Aid NSW for more information.

Insurance assistance

Guide to making an insurance claim 

The NSW Small Business Commissioner’s quick guide to making an insurance claim can help  businesses through the claims process to get paid quickly and smoothly after a disaster or disruption. Visit the Small Business website. 

The Insurance Council of Australia may be able to assist businesses who have queries relating  to insurance. Visit Insurance Council of Australia's wesbite or call 1800 734 621


Mental health support 

There is 24/7 help available through Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636.

Online services and resources

Ahead for Business by – Helps small business owners take action on their own mental health and wellbeing. 

NewAccess by Beyond Blue – Free and confidential help for small business owners from mental health coaches with a small business background. 

Rural Adversity Mental Health Program – Connects people living in regional, rural and remote NSW with local mental health services and resources. 

Rural Resilience Program – helping build resilience by linking rural communities, families and individuals with the most appropriate services and information.

Business guides and resources

Business guide to recovering from disaster

“Get back to business” by the NSW Small Business Commissioner is a step-by-step guide for business owners dealing with a disaster. The guide provides information to help businesses from the moment disaster hits, to the days, weeks and months ahead. Visit the Small Business Commissioner website to learn more and download a copy.

General business support 

Telstra assistance package 

Telstra has announced a disaster assistance package for its residential and small business customers who have lost services following the severe storms and major flooding across  eastern parts of New South Wales. 

The package includes mobile call diversion, a boost to data and free calls as well as reconnection support to those impacted across the New England, North Coast & Mid North Coast, as well as the Newcastle, Hunter and Central Coast regions. 

Call 1800 888 888 for more information.  

Personalised business support  

The Business Concierge Service can help you identify what support is available for you and complete any financial relief application forms. Our business concierges will be on board our Mobile Service Centres and at Disaster Recovery Centres in impacted areas, or you can call 13 77 88

Business Connect 

Business Connect provides professional advisors, all of whom have experience in running their own small business. They'll be able to help you with: 

  • Developing a customised recovery strategy
  • Managing your cashflow
  • Accessing finance including grants and loans
  • Marketing your business to reach new customers
  • Connecting to other government support and local professional services

You can select an advisor and book an appointment online, or call 1300 134 359.


Agricultural and Animal Services 

The NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) and Local Land Services (LLS) are providing assistance to landholders and communities with animal welfare-related issues resulting from the floods, including: 

  • Animal assessment and veterinary assistance 
  • Stock euthanasia and burial
  • Emergency fodder and emergency stock water (where there is an immediate animal welfare concern)
  • Livestock feeding and management advice
  • Care of animals in evacuation centres

To request assistance, call the Agricultural and Animal Services Hotline on 1800 814 647 or your local LLS veterinarian on 1300 795 299. 

For current animal disposal advice, visit

Evacuation centres for animals and livestock 

A full list of current Animal Evacuation Centres is located on the NSW Department of Primary Industries website.

Animal owners are reminded that care of your animals, including adequate food and water supply, any toys and medication, as well as full time supervision, remains your responsibility once you arrive at the animal evacuation centres. Owners are also asked to bring appropriate identification for their animals.

Damage Assessments

NSW DPI asks any primary producer affected by the floods to fill out the Primary Industries Natural Disaster Damage Survey. DPI uses these surveys to determine the scale and severity of the impact and what assistance and resources are required, where.

Financial assistance

Services Australia (Centrelink)

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

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. 

Justice Office of Emergency Management
The Justice Office of Emergency Management can provide financial assistance to eligible individuals, families small businesses and not-for-profits. 

Centrelink (Department of Human Services)
Centrelink offers Disaster Recovery Allowance to assist with short term income support payments.

Disaster Welfare Services
Disaster Welfare Services provide assistance for 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.

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 Department of Human Services provides assistance to eligible farmers and their families facing financial difficulties through the Farm Household Allowance.

Service NSW - Energy Accounts Payment Assistance (EAPA) Scheme - 13 77 88

If you're having difficulty paying your household energy bill because of a short-term financial crisis or emergency, such as unexpected medical bills or reduced income due to COVID-19, you could be eligible for an EAPA $50 voucher.   

A Seniors Energy Rebate is also available to help cover the cost of electricity for Commonwealth Seniors Health Card holders. 

Energy & Water Ombudsman - 1800 246 545 

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

Food, utilities & clothing

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

Kurri Kurri Community Centre - 02 4937 4555
The Kurri Food Cooperative is a membership cooperative supplying food and household goods at reduced cost to those who hold a health benefit card, receive a pension/benefit from Centrelink, or are in genuine need. Service may be available on certain days only.

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

Food War Inc. Cessnock(02) 4966 2987
Food War Inc is helping families and individuals on any Government benefit to purchase low cost groceries.

The Vines Community Church Foodcare - 0481 102 632
A Church based food/grocery shop offering reasonably priced goods for Centrelink Concession Card holders.

Northern Coalfields Community Care Association - (02) 4019 9700
Meals on wheels and home care support services, including nursing care, social support, domestic assistance, personal care, respite services, case management and more. 

The Office of Emergency Management is offering emergency relief packages for people who have been directed to self-isolate, and have no family or friends able to help with shopping.

If you, or someone you know is in need, please call 13 77 88.

Legal assistance & 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.

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 - 1800WDVCAS or 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.

Livestock & animals

Department of Primary Industries - 1800 814 647
The Department of Primary Industries provides assistance with livestock and other animals during a flood crisis.


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 Place02 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

Business assistance

Rural Assistance Authority1800 678 593
The Rural Assiatnce Authority will provide concessional rate loans to business who meet the eligibility criteria.

Business Connect - 1300 134 359
This organisation provides practical face to face support, tailored to individual business needs.

Child protection

Child Protection Helpline13 12 11
to report a child at risk of harm and neglect

Kids Helpline - 1800 55 1800
Kids Helpline provides free, private and confidential 24/7 phone and online counselling service for young people aged 5 to 25.

Health & 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.

Birth/death marriage certificates & drivers licences

Services NSW - 137 788
Services NSW may replace certificates and drivers licences at no cost to those affected by a disaster.

WorkCover licences

WorkCover NSW - 13 10 50
WorkCover may replace licences at no cost to those affected by a disaster. 

Motor vehicles

Office of State Revenue - 1300 139 814
Motorists whose cars have been written off as a result of the floods, may be eligible for stamp duty relief on their replacement vehicles. Conditions apply.


Lower Hunter Transport Service - (02) 4019 9750

Subsidised transport and delivery services are available to any community members who are transport disadvantaged or affected by the COVID -19 restrictions.  Services include door to door personalised transport, unassisted shopping and deliveries of essential items.