Human Services co-ordinates bushfire relief for SA residents

By The Mandarin

January 8, 2015

The Department of Human Services will co-ordinate relief payments for South Australians impacted by bushfires this week.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced this morning that both the Disaster Recovery Payment and the Disaster Recovery Allowance will be provided to eligible residents impacted by fires in Sampson Flat and the Mount Lofty Ranges.

People eligible for the Disaster Recovery Payment — those who have lost their homes or suffered injury as a result of the disaster — can access a one-off payment of $1000 per adult and $400 for each child. Those eligible for the Disaster Recovery Allowance can access income assistance for up to 13 weeks, equivalent to the maximum rate of Newstart Allowance or Youth Allowance.

Claims can be made on the Human Services website or via a government hotline (180 22 66), with forms lodged in person through Centrelink.

The federal government’s disaster relief is over and above support already provided under the jointly funded Commonwealth-State Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements, which were announced on Sunday.

“So,” Abbott said on radio FIVEaa this morning, “this is modest additional Commonwealth assistance that will be made available for victims of these terrible fires here in South Australia.”

The Department of Human Services is currently locked in tense pay negotiations with the government, with staff engaging in industrial action late last year. The Community and Public Sector Union has vowed Centrelink customers won’t be impacted by any disruption. A union representative told The Mandarin there has been no developments in the negotiations since December.

More at The Mandarin: Human Services in secret? Full FOI disclosures halve

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