Communities directly affected by fire, including those in New England, will have Australian Government emergency relief funding increased by $58 million.
Member for New England Barnaby Joyce said this latest funding package included an extra $40 million for local charities to distribute for food vouchers or to pay for basics including utility bills, clothing, and petrol.
"Charities like the Salvation Army and St Vincent de Paul Society are already carrying out important work in respect of drought in the New England, with support from the Federal Government," Mr Joyce said.
"This bushfire funding is in addition to that drought support, and will be made available as cash payments when necessary to help cover emergency costs for people who work or live in affected areas."
The Salvation Army Property Trust and the St Vincent De Paul Society will administer the funding. Collectively they provide services across all affected areas. They will work with locally based organisations to help communities in need.
The hotline numbers are:
- . Salvation Army Disasters Assistance team: 1300 662 217
- . St Vincent de Paul bushfire assistance: 13 18 12
Under the latest assistance measures, the Government will also provide an extra $400 for each child who has received the Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment (AGDRP).
From Monday, this additional payment will begin flowing for new applicants. New applicants will receive $800 per child and $1000 per adult.
Families with children who have already received the AGDRP need not re-apply. Their additional $400 payment will follow next week.
The government is providing an additional $7.9 million for the families of the nearly 20,000 children affected by bushfires and already receiving the AGDRP. This funding is uncapped to meet the needs of more families who may be eligible for the AGDRP.
Local government areas in the New England eligible for the AGDRP include Armidale, Tenterfield, Glen Innes Severn, and Walcha.
An additional $10 million will be invested in financial counselling for affected areas, including extra support for the National Debt Helpline, and increased funding for locally based providers in bush fire affected areas to deliver face-to-face services, including through outreach.
The National Debt Helpline is often the first point of contact for people experiencing financial difficulties. Call 1800 007 007 or visit www.ndh.org.au