Additional flood support from government agencies and service providers
In addition to flood grants, legal support and insurance advice, flood-affected communities can also access financial support from government agencies and service providers.
Help from NSW Government agencies
Flood Contaminated Lands Assessment Program (Northern Rivers)
If your residential property is in Northern NSW and you are concerned the soil on your property may have been contaminated by floods, you can request to have the land assessed.
This is an opt-in program that will provide you with a free assessment report undertaken by a suitably qualified land contamination expert engaged by the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA).
You can request support if:
- you’re a residential or small business property owner or tenant impacted by the flooding beginning in February 2022, and your property is located within the local government areas:
- Clarence Valley
- Richmond Valley
- your property was inundated by floodwater.
Request a Flood-contaminated land assessment on the Service NSW website.
Grants for North Coast students, trainees and apprentices
Students, trainees and apprentices in flood-affected North Coast areas can apply for grants of $500 to $1000 under the Vocational Education Hardship Fund and Apprentice and Trainee Support grants initiative.
The grants can help replace training materials or support continued engagement in learning and employment during the recovery period. They are available to learners who are:
- school-based apprentices and trainees (SBATs)
- government-funded vocational education and training (VET) Smart and Skilled learners.
Postal applications for grants are open until 31 March 2023.
Education Hardship Fund for students in Northern and Western NSW
An Education Hardship Fund has been established by the NSW Department of Education to support students with sustained education recovery. Grants to the value of $500 are available to students at eligible flood-affected schools in Northern and Western NSW.
Funds were transferred to eligible schools in Northern NSW in mid-2022.
For eligible schools in Western NSW, the funds will be automatically transferred to the school as Fees in Advance to registered students’ accounts by the end of February 2023.
The funds can be used for school-related expenses where activities are centrally organised by the school or for goods that are generally procured by the school on behalf of the students.
For more information about the Education Hardship Fund, parents and carers should contact their principals.
Provision of Student Support Officers
To support the wellbeing of students, funding will be provided for multiple temporary Student Support Officers in Western NSW through to the end of 2024.
These welfare-qualified officers will work across several schools to provide students, staff and parents and carers with access to a selection of evidence-based programs and resources to support student wellbeing.
These programs will support students to learn new ways to adapt to experiences of change, loss and grief and move forward with confidence and hope following recent floods and severe weather.
Fees and charges waivers
The NSW Government supports people affected by floods by:
helping with clean up and waste removal costs following natural disasters
increasing gas and electricity bills payments for those in financial hardship to $1600 a year.
Revenue NSW offer a range of options based on your circumstances, including:
- extension of payment or lodgement timeframes
- lifting of licence or registration sanctions
- putting debts on short-term hold and help with hardship applications
- duty relief on a replacement vehicle if your car was written off.
You can also apply for free replacements of important documents damaged or lost in floods, including:
Smart and Skilled student fee reimbursement
Flood-affected Smart and Skilled students may be eligible to have course fees reimbursed as part of the NSW Government’s North Coast Education Flood Recovery Support Package.
Eligible students were sent an email inviting them to apply.
To be eligible, you must:
- live in the local government area (LGAs) of Ballina, Byron, Clarence Valley, Kyogle, Lismore, Richmond Valley or Tweed
- have been enrolled and/or commenced training with a provider for full qualifications in a Smart and Skilled course before 5 April 2022
- submit evidence of payment made to the training provider between 22 February 2022 to 30 June 2023.
Which student fees can be reimbursed?
Fees that are paid for a Smart and Skilled full qualification between 22 February 2022 and 30 June 2023 will be reimbursed. If you have paid via instalments, you can submit applications for each fee instalment.
Fee reimbursement is not available for students who discontinued training before 5 April 2022.
Training Services NSW will verify your application meets eligibility criteria before making payments.
How to apply
Applications must be made in person or delivered by post. Forms can't be emailed due to cyber security concerns.
To apply, download, print out, and complete a TAFE application form. Gather printed evidence of the fee you paid to submit with the application form.
You may be able to submit your application at your TAFE location. Locations details are on the application form.
You can also submit your application and evidence through the mail. The reply-paid mailing address is on the application form.
To apply, download, print out, and complete the private student application form. Gather printed evidence of the fee you paid to submit it with the application form.
Submit your application and evidence through the mail. The reply-paid mailing address is on the application form.
Note: students aged under 18 must have a parent or carer co-sign the application form before it can be submitted.
Evidence to include in your application
All applications must include:
- evidence of payment from your training provider
- proof of the date that the payment was made.
If you don’t have a copy of your payment confirmation, please contact your training provider for a copy.
Application closing date
Applications are open until 30 September 2023.
You will receive an email advising the outcome of your application. The reimbursement will be paid within 6 weeks of receiving this confirmation email.
For further information
Help from the Australian Government
Natural disaster recovery advice
Recovering from a natural disaster will take time. There's lots of financial decisions to think about both immediately and in the months that follow.
The Australian Government's Moneysmart website provides information to help you make a recovery plan and navigate financial decisions.
Crisis payments for other extreme circumstances
The Australian Government provides additional crisis payments for extreme circumstances.
You may get a crisis payment if you are forced to change where you live due to flooding or another unforeseen event.
Check the list of highly impacted suburbs that are prioritised for emergency financial support.
Find more information on Crisis Payment for Other Extreme Circumstances.
Extra help for cost of childcare
You may be eligible for extra help with the cost of childcare if you’re in a flood-affected area. This subsidy is added on top of the regular Child Care Subsidy.
Find more information about whether you’re eligible on Additional Child Care Subsidy Temporary Financial Hardship.
Australian Tax Office
The Australian Tax Office can help you with your tax or super obligations. Taxpayers in flood-affected areas will be provided with any additional time they need to meet any upcoming business activity statement obligations.
Any GST refunds will also be fast-tracked to free up your business cash flow and help fund recovery.
Help from banks, service providers and telcos
Free financial counselling
Find more free financial counselling on moneysmart.gov.au
Banks and other financial service providers
Most banks and creditors can help customers who are experiencing financial hardship. Contact your provider to discuss what options are available, such as deferring payments or altering the terms of your loan.
Additionally, some institutions are offering customers in NSW from flood-affected postcodes grants to help with expenses and repairs. Speak with your financial service providers to see if you qualify.
They may also help you in other ways, such as:
- changing home loan repayments
- restructuring loans
- waiving fees and charges
- expediting insurance claims.
Contact your financial institution to see how they can assist you.
If you have more than 1 unsecured loan, like a personal loan and credit card debt, 1 option – depending on interest rates – is to consolidate them into a single loan.
Find out more about debt consolidation and refinancing on Moneysmart.
Support from your telco
Help with energy bills
Some energy providers may extend payment periods for customers who've been financially affected by natural disasters.
Talk with your provider as soon as possible if you will have trouble paying your bill.
You may also be eligible for an energy rebate. Visit Energy NSW to find out more.
Early access to superannuation
In limited circumstances you may be able to access your superannuation early. Visit Early access on compassionate grounds to see if you’re eligible. It may be worth discussing this option with a financial counsellor.
Mail redirection with Australia Post
If you are affected by a natural disaster, you may be eligible for up to 12 months of free mail redirection.
Visit Free 12-month mail redirection for special circumstances to find out more.