Lake Inverell

Bush Fire Assistance

Tingha Plateau Bush Fire

As the threat of the Tingha Plateau bush fire eases those affected are now faced with the recovery process.

The local community and NSW Government have a number of ways to help those affected and these are listed on this page or can be downloaded in newsletter form below.

Community Assistance Newsletters

Issued by the NSW Office of Emergency Management, the below disaster assistance newsletters detail recovery information and assistance available for those affected by the recent bush fires.

Northern NSW Bush Fire Assistance Community Recovery Newsletters
Newsletter
12/03/2019
Includes information such as assistance available from the Red Cross, mental health, fencing, communities coming together and more.
Newsletter
26/02/2019
Includes information such as the new Disaster Relief Assistance Payment, emergency drinking water, emergency water for livestock and health and well-being advice, and much more.
Newsletter
21/02/2019
Includes information such as, small business assistance, grants available, tax help, legal assistance, domestic water assistance, fire retardant information and more.
Newsletter
17/02/2019
Includes information such as, mental health help, animal welfare, housing assistance and more

RECOVERY ASSISTANCE CENTRE OPEN

From 4 March 2018, the Recovery Centre held at the Tingha Sports and Rec Club will return to its regular operations.  All the support services that were at the club are continuing and can be contacted directly through the contact details throughout this page.

AREAS OF ASSISTANCE AVAILABLE

Financial Assistance from the Australian Government

New Disaster Relief Assistance

On 25 February the Australian Government announced additional disaster assistance for eligible people in the Local Government Areas of Armidale, Inverell, Kyogle, Tamworth and Tenterfield. It includes:

1. Australian Government Disaster Relief Payment (AGDRP)

The AGDRP is a one-off payment for eligible people who have been significantly affected by a disaster e.g. you have been seriously injured or the house you live in has been damaged or destroyed. It is not for minor damage or inconvenience.

If you’re eligible you’ll receive:

  • > $1,000 per adult
  • > $400 per child under 16 years old

2. Disaster Relief Allowance (DRA)

The DRA is a short term payment to help you if you have lost income as a direct result of a disaster. You can get this payment for a maximum of 13 weeks and it is payable from the date you lose income as a direct result of the fires.

To be eligible you will need work or live in one of the affected areas and provide evidence of your income loss. For more info on either payment or to check your eligibility call the Commonwealth Department of Human Services: 180 22 66 or visit: www.humanservices.gov.au/disaster

Read more about the financial assistance here.

For more information or to make a claim visit www.humanservices.gov.au/disaster or call 180 22 66. The hotline will be open business hours 8 am to 5 pm from 25 February 2019.

Health and Wellbeing

Bush fires are distressing and you might feel sadness or anxiety, or have trouble sleeping or remembering things. This is a normal reaction and it is not a sign of weakness.

Having someone to listen and support you at times like this is important. Some tips on managing your recovery include:

  • > Spend time with family and friends
  • > Try to get back in to a routine
  • > Continue a healthy lifestyle (eating, sleeping, exercise)
  • > Take time out but don’t isolate yourself
  • > Write down your worries and concerns
  • > Express your feelings in your own time and way
  • > Accept help when it is offered
  • > Limit the amount of media coverage you are exposed to
  • > Don’t expect to have all the answers
  • >Understand you are not alone in your experience

If you are struggling there are people you can talk to, like your local GP or health care provider.

Mental Health Line: 1800 051 511

Lifeline Crisis Support: 13 11 14

MensLine: 1300 789 978

Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800

Beyondblue: 1300 22 4636

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger please call 000.

Are you insured?

If you are insured, you should talk to your insurance company as soon as possible about how to make a claim. If you have clearance, you can start cleaning up immediately but first take pictures or video of any damage to your property and possessions as evidence for your claim.

The Insurance Council of Australia can be contacted with any questions, complaints or concerns about our insurance on 1800 734 621.

If you are not insured and have limited income, you may be eligible for a disaster relief grant

Disaster Relief Grants for Individuals and Families

Disaster relief grants are 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

Applying for a disaster relief grant: To apply for financial assistance call Disaster Welfare Services on 1800 018 444.

Disaster Relief for Farmers

A range of assistance measures are available to eligible farmers and primary producers impacted by fire, including:

  • > Concessional fixed-rate loans up to $130,000
  • > Transport subsidies for the carriage of livestock, fodder and water

For more information contact: NSW Rural Assistance Authority 1800 678 593 rural.assist@raa.nsw.gov.au

Housing Assistance

Family & Community Services (FACS) can assist by providing temporary accommodation for up to 28 nights while impacted residents seek alternative longer-term arrangements.

FACS can also provide financial assistance through a repayable bond loan and a non-repayable advanced rent of two week.

All fire affected residents are eligible for this assistance. Call FACS Housing 1800 422 322

Animal Welfare

Local Land Services has been assisting with emergency fodder, stock water and medical assistance for animals impacted by the fire.

Landholders are encouraged to call the Agriculture and Animal Hotline to request assistance or report any stock losses. Animal & Agriculture Hotline 1800 814 647

Legal Assistance

Legal Aid NSW helps people with their legal problems. Legal Aid NSW lawyers can provide free legal advice and minor assistance to people affected by disasters on a range of issues including insurance, tenancy and credit and debt
problems.

Legal Aid NSW: 1800 801 529 www.legalaid.nsw.gov.au

Tax Help

If you have been affected by the fire you don’t need to worry about your tax affairs right away.

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) will give you time to deal with your more immediate problems first and can help you to sort out your tax affairs later.

Depending on your circumstance, the following assistance may be available to you:

  • > more time to lodge, pay and respond
  • > early access to your money
  • > assistance payments
  • > help with damaged or destroyed property
  • > reconstructing your tax records
  • > fuel tax credits for individuals, businesses and others

Call the ATO for more information on 13 28 65.

Small Business Assistance

The NSW Government provides practical support to businesses affected by the fire.

Business Advice

Business Connect can provide you with two free independent and confidential business advice sessions. An advisor can meet you at a convenient place and discuss your business needs.

Advice is offered about managing cash flow, planning the next steps, accessing financial support schemes and connecting to additional support.

Call 1800 806 218

Motor Vehicle Assistance

Motorists whose cars have been written off as a result of a natural disaster may be eligible for a stamp duty refund on their replacement vehicle.

Contact the Office of State Revenue via the website www.osr.nsw.gov.au, or call Revenue NSW on 1300 139 814.

Fire retardant information

Retardants were dropped from the air to suppress and slow the fires and may have landed on some properties.

This type of retardant is basically a fertiliser (a mix of ammonium and diammonium sulphate and ammonium phosphate).

See below for information on how to manage this and where to collect emergency water supplies.

For assistance with removing fire retardant from your roof please call the Disaster Welfare Assistance Line on 1800 018 444 (Mon–Fri 8.30am-4.30pm).

If you think that your rainwater tank has been contaminated you can still use the water to:

  • > flush toilets
  • > water the garden
  • > wash clothes (providing it will not stain clothes)
  • > wash cars
  • > fight fires

It is important for residents in fire-affected areas or in areas where ash may have fallen on roofs to ensure that all rainwater from the first full rainfall event is not collected as this may be contaminated by ash.

For more information on fire retardants and tips on cleaning see the RFS fact sheet: https://www.emergency.nsw.gov.au/Documents/factsheets/information-about-the-use-of-firefighting-retardants.pdf

Also see the Domestic Water Assitance and Rainwater sections of this page.

Domestic Water Assistance

If your potable (drinking) 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 and you will need to sign a declaration that your water was used by the RFS for firefighting.

Call the Disaster Welfare Assistance Line on 1800 018 444 (Mon–Fri 8.30am-4.30pm) for more information

Using rainwater after a fire

If you think that your rainwater tank has been contaminated you can still use the water to:

  • > flush toilets
  • > water the garden
  • > wash clothes (providing it will not stain clothes)
  • > wash cars
  • > fight fires

It is important for residents in fire affected areas or in areas where ash may have fallen on roofs to ensure that all rainwater from the first full rainfall event is not collected as this may be contaminated by ash.

Emergency Drinking Water

If you have been impacted by the fire and are in need of emergency potable water to drink or cook with, you can collect free water from the Tingha Sport and Recreation Club.

Call the Disaster Welfare Assistance Line on 1800 018 444 (Mon–Fri 8.30am-4.30pm) for more information.

Emergency Water for Livestock

Water that has been taken to fight bushfires may be replaced if the removal of the water results in animal welfare concerns or production losses.

If your livestock water supply has been emptied or contaminated due to firefighting, contact Local Land Services to assess your eligibility: Animal & Agriculture Hotline 1800 814 647.

Clean up advice

Houses, sheds and other buildings that have been burnt in a bushfire can leave potential health and safety hazards in the remaining rubble and ash.

Hazardous household materials that may be present after a bushfire include asbestos, ash from burnt  treated timbers (i.e. copper chrome arsenate or CCA), medicines, garden or farm chemicals, other household chemicals and cleaning products, damaged gas bottles, metal and other residues from burnt household appliances as well as ash and dusts.

Other hazards may include unsafe building structures, electrical hazards and missing fencing panels around swimming pools.

When returning to your property after a bushfire, consider the following precautions to protect your health:

  • > Do not enter your property until you are advised that it is safe to do so by emergency services, utilities companies or 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 services 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.
  • > 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.

Telstra assistance package announced for Northern NSW

Assistance package for Telstra residential and small business customers in northern NSW who have lost services due to bushfires across the Tingha area.

Customers who have had to evacuate their home or have lost their home are encouraged to call Telstra on 132 203 (then enter their full home phone including area code when prompted) to report a fault and register for the assistance package if they have had to evacuate their home or have lost their home.

Telstra’s relief packages can include the following:

SHORT TERM measures (for Telstra customers who have a short term impact – temporary evacuation of premises or temporary fault):

– Free call diversion from an affected fixed home or business phone service to another fixed or mobile service of the customer’s choice, regardless of the carrier

– Customers who use the free call diversion to divert their affected fixed home or business phone to their Telstra mobile service can also make local and STD® calls on their mobile at fixed line rates, in accordance with their selected plan (limited to one designated Telstra mobile per affected household or business).

The above offers are applicable until network damage in the area due to the bushfire is repaired, or while customers remain evacuated, for a maximum period of three months from the date of the fire.
Affected Telstra mobile customers who do not have a Telstra home phone can receive a one-off credit to the value of $100 inc. GST (limited to one mobile phone per Telstra mobile account).

LONG TERM measures (for Telstra customers who have suffered severe damage to or loss of their premises):

Fixed services

– Cancellation of a Telstra fixed phone service at the affected address, with number reservation for up to 12 months from the date of the bushfire.

– Free call diversion from the customer’s Telstra fixed phone service to another Australian fixed or mobile service of their choice, regardless of the carrier. This offer is applicable for a maximum period of 6 months from the date of the fire.

– Customers who use the free call diversion service to divert their affected Telstra fixed phone service to their Telstra mobile service, can also make local and STD® calls from that mobile

OPTUS MOBILE SERVICE IN BUSHFIRE AREA

As a result of the bushfires, Optus customers may be experiencing disruptions to their mobile call, text and data services due to outages in the area.

Optus technicians have been working with relevant emergency services to get safe access to restricted areas. Technicians are currently working on restoring services to the site in Bundarra and will provide further updates when service has been restored.

In the instance of an emergency, customers should still dial 000 from their fixed line or mobile phone. 

Optus stores in Inverell and Armidale will be open today to assist anyone who has been affected. 

Store Locations: 

Yes Optus Inverell – Central Plaza, Shop 3, 121 Byron St, Inverell NSW 2360

Yes Optus Armidale – 3/206 Beardy St, Armidale NSW 2350

COMMUNITY SUPPORT

Best Community Shed Bush Fire Appeal

BEST is establishing a community fire appeal to assist community members who have been impacted by the devastating fires. Tax-deductible tax donations can be made to the appeal either online or at any Regional Australia Branch:

BEST Fire Appeal
BSB: 932 000
Account: 100429458

Email finance@best.com.au if a tax-deductible receipt is required.

Material goods such as blankets, sheets etc can be dropped off at the Linking Together Centre, BEST Community Shed or BEST Employment Office.

Emergency Welfare support for community members is available through the Linking Together Centre or BEST Community Shed. Contact Melanie Dowell mel@best.com.au or 02 67213 222 for more information.

 

More information will be posted as it becomes available. If your organisation is offering support and would like it listed please email council@inverell.nsw.gov.au.

Further information can also be found on the following webpages or hotlines.

NSW Emergency Management: www.emergency.nsw.gov.au, NSW Disaster Recovery Facebook page.

Hon Barnaby Joyce MP Media Release: Disaster Recovery Payment announced for bushfires

MP Adam Marshall Media Release: Disaster assistance for Tingha bushfire affected families,

NSW Rural Assistance Authority: www.raa.nsw.gov.au‬‬ or 1800 678 593

Australian Government’s Disaster Assist website: www.disasterassist.gov.au

Ag and Animal Services Hotline: 1800 814 647 – Landholders who need assistance with emergency fodder, livestock or domestic animal assessment should call the Ag and Animal Services Hotline on 1800 814 647.

Disaster Welfare Assistance Line: ‪1800 018 444‬ – For information on personal hardship and distress assistance, contact the Disaster Welfare Assistance Line on ‪1800 018 444‬.

OTHER COUNCIL AFFILIATED WEBSITES

CONTACT COUNCIL

Opening Hours:
Monday - Friday
8:30am - 4:30pm

Correspondence:
General Manager
PO Box 138 Inverell NSW 2360

Administration Centre

144 Otho Street
Inverell NSW 2360

Phone: (02) 6728 8288
Fax: (02) 6728 8277
Email: council@inverell.nsw.gov.au
ABN: 72 695 204 530

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