Operation Outreach: Dedicated support program to ensure no one is left behind

Published: 18 May 2020

The NSW Government continues to support bushfire-affected communities, announcing today $8.5 million for Operation Outreach, which is aimed at ensuring everyone who needs support gets it.


Deputy Premier and Minister responsible for Disaster Recovery John Barilaro said the bushfire recovery program is pushing ahead in leaps and bounds and he is committed to ensuring no one is left behind.

“I am pleased to announce Operation Outreach, a dedicated program made up of Resilience NSW, Service NSW, local councils, charities and locally embedded recovery services which will proactively seek out bushfire-impacted families and individuals to ensure they are utilising the raft of support available. This is above and beyond the ongoing engagement already underway,” Mr Barilaro said.
“The NSW and Australian Governments, in partnership with Laing O’Rourke, have so far cleared around 1300 properties free of charge to property owners and we are well on track to meet the ambitious target of majority properties cleared by 30 June 2020. 

“However, the thing that keeps me up at night is that someone might fall through the cracks when it comes to bushfire recovery and the Operation Outreach program will directly address this concern.

“Operation Outreach will be undertaken in two stages – the first step will see dedicated support officers ensure contact has been made with every single person who has been impacted by bushfires and actively seek out anyone who has not made contact.  

“The second step is to refer those in need to the dedicated, local recovery support service.”

The localised support model takes key learnings from previous disaster events, including the 2013 Blue Mountains Bushfires, 2017 Sir Ivan Fire and 2018 Tathra fire.

“Since November, the NSW Government has provided over 8000 people with emergency accommodation and we are rolling out temporary accommodation pods in partnership with the Minderoo Foundation,” Mr Barilaro said.
“We know that people who have experienced trauma seek help according to their own timeline and this program ensures nobody misses out.” 

The funding comes from the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangement (DFRA) which is jointly funded with the Federal Government. 

The NSW Government continues to support communities impacted by bushfires through various grants, loans and other services including:

  • more than 1300 properties have been cleared by Laing O’Rourke
  • 99% of the clean-up contracts are going to local and regional contractors 
  • more than $160 million paid out in in $10,000 small business grants
  • more than $76 million has been paid out in $75,000 primary industry grants
  • more than $15 million has been spent on providing health and wellbeing support
  • almost $4 million in disaster welfare grants have been paid out
  • the $140 million Bushfire Industry Recovery Package 
  • more than 8000 people have been placed in emergency accommodation since November
  • more than 100 pods through a partnership with Minderoo Foundation and NSW Government are being rolled out to communities who need to stay on their land 
  • $1 billion commitment to rebuild public infrastructure
  • $10 million marketing campaign from Destination NSW. 
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