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South East QLD Bushfires

State Government Assistance


Support for Primary Producers, Small Businesses and Not-for-profit organisations

  • Disaster assistance loans - up to $250,000)
  • Disaster assistance loans - essential working capital


The QLD Department of Employment, Small Business & Training ('DESBT') has established the following to support the small business community impacted by the recent Bushfires.  

  • DESBT has established a small business recovery hub co-located within each of the Community recovery centres, our regional staff are managing these hubs and are equipped with the information on hand to provide any impacted business
  • The Customer Centre has established a dedicate number 1300 654 687
  • On the Business Queensland Website, we have activated the survey for small businesses to assess their support needs
  • If there are power outages or difficulty for any member to access, please call the number or visit the centre and the DESBT team will undertake this on your behalf.


Small Business Disaster Recovery Fact Sheets:


Federal Government Assistance

Emergency Hardship Assistance of $180 per person and up $900 for a family to help people immediately with accommodation, food, essential clothing and medication.

Further grants are available to support people with property damage based on their individual situation.

The below grants are means tested

  • Essential Household Contents: $150 per person (up to $750 for a family of five or more) to people who are directly impacted by the loss of one or more essential service (e.g. electricity, gas, water or sewerage) for more than five days.
  • Essential Services Safety and Reconnection Grant: To help owner-occupied households reconnect essential services that were damaged by a disaster. Up to $200 towards a safety inspection for each essential service needing reconnection and up to $4200 towards repair work.
  • Structural Assistance Grant: One-off payment towards the cost of repairs to uninsured, owner-occupied homes to ensure the home is habitable, secure and safe. Up to $10,995 for single adults and up to $14,685 for couples/families.

How can people apply?

  • Call the Community Recovery Hotline 1800 173 349.
  • Online through the Community Recovery Portal,
  • Visit the Community Recovery Hubs.
  • People need their Driver Licence, Medicare Card, Bank Account details - call the recovery centre if they are lost.

Other Assistance

Council announces relief with rate extension 
Southern Downs Regional Council has announced that it will extend the payment due date and discount period for all rate payers by four weeks in recognition of the recent bushfire and drought hardships.  Click here to view media release.

Small Business Rural Financial Counsellor

The primary role of the Small Business Rural Financial Counsellor Service Program is to support Small Businesses in drought impacted areas who are experience hardship associated with the long standing drought conditions.  They aim to identify options which see you, and your business better equipped to manage your circumstances.  The service is free and they have some great ideas and abilities to help. Click here for more information.

South East Queensland Bushfire Assistance

Primary producers who have suffered direct damage from the recent South East Queensland bushfires can apply for an Individually Disaster Stricken Property (IDSP) certificate from the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF). This certificate will enable impacted producers to apply for concessional Disaster Assistance Loans up to $250,000 to recover and rebuild.

Application forms, guidelines and further information regarding this assistance is available on the Disaster Assistance Loans page.

GIVIT Partnership
The Southern Downs Regional Council has begun the recovery process throughout areas affected by the bushfires. To do this with utmost efficiency, SDRC has partnered with GIVIT.
GIVIT is a national charitable organisation that connects those who “have” with those who “need” in a safe and private manner for all involved.
Partnering with a registered and reputable organisation, such as GIVIT, means those who donate can remain away from the disaster zones and allow emergency services to conduct their practices unobstructed, without compromising the number of donations available for those in need. Furthermore, the privacy and dignity of those experiencing hardship is respected.  Click here for further information.

Temporary water restrictions amnesty announced for the Stanthorpe area
Southern Downs Regional Council has announced that critical water restrictions of 100L per person per day will be immediately and temporarily lifted for bushfire affected residents and some businesses in the Stanthorpe area.
Water restrictions will be lifted for residents and some businesses on town and tank water, and will continue until 5.00pm Wednesday 18 September.  Click here for further information.

4000L water offer from Council to fire affected properties

In the wake of the recent and destructive bushfires in the Stanthorpe region, Council will offer 4000L of drinking water per property to affected rural land owners at no cost.

Eligible properties directly affected by the bushfires have been identified by Queensland Fire and Emergency Services and Council’s water offer will be rolled out across the region in two stages.

The first stage is available immediately until 3pm Wednesday 18 September and offers 4000L of water to affected properties in Stanthorpe and Applethorpe. The second stage will be rolled out to affected properties in Ballandean and Pozieres and these dates will be announced shortly. Click here for further information.


Southern Downs Regional Council Bushfire Recovery Portal

Drought Assistance

Drought assistance programs

The Queensland Government and Australian Government offer programs to help farm families, farm businesses and farm communities affected by drought. This page provides broad descriptions of government drought assistance programs available to Queensland producers.

The latest information on drought declarations and revocations in Queensland is available on the Long Paddock website .

Queensland Government programs

Business assistance

Drought Relief Assistance Scheme

The Drought Relief Assistance Scheme is administered by the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries  DRAS provides:

  • freight subsidies for the transport of fodder, water and livestock; and
  • the Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate (EWIR).

Access the guidelines and application forms.

Australian Government On-Farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate

Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries is operating the Australian Government On-Farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate on behalf of the Australian Government.  Producers are able to access:

  • a 25% rebate for new purchases and installation of water infrastructure.  This rebate is added automatically to the Queensland Government’s Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate.  There is no need to apply separately for this 25% top up.  Claims from 1 July 2018 and the commencement of the top-up will be automatically paid to applicants that have already received a payment from the Queensland scheme.
  • a 25% rebate for the cost of a contractor to desilt dams on your property under the Australian Dam Desilting Rebate. Access the guidelines and application forms.

A maximum of $25,000 can be accessed through the On-farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate.

Financial counselling services

Read more about financial counselling services.

The Queensland Government has contributed additional funding to the Australian Government's Rural Financial Counselling Service (RFCS).

Pest animal and weed management in drought-affected areas

The Queensland Government and Australian Government fund projects aimed at wild dog, cat, feral pig, rabbit and weed management in Queensland.

Read more about:

Other drought rebates and fee relief

Find out about other drought rebates and fee relief, including land rent rebates, water fee relief and transport-related drought assistance.

Community and family assistance

A range of counselling services are available for drought-affected communities.

Health care services

Queensland Health provides primary mental health support to drought-affected areas through the Drought Wellbeing Service provided by the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

Queensland Health also provides grants and coordination of local mental health services through the Tackling Regional Adversity through Integrated Care program to help build community resilience to drought, disaster and other crises.

Transport concessions and school transport allowance

The Department of Transport and Main Roads provides transport concessions for primary producers in drought and increased school transport allowances for some families that drive their children to school or connect with a school bus run.

Australian Government drought assistance

The Australian Government provides a number of assistance measures for farmers and rural communities affected by drought and other hardship. Measures include:

Drought Relief Assistance Scheme guidelines and forms

Australian dam desilting rebate

Drought Communities Programme Extension

Provides Eligible Councils with up to $1 million for local community infrastructure and other drought relief projects for communities impacted by drought.

Who can apply

At a minimum, you must have:

  • an Australian Business Number (ABN); and
  • be an Eligible Council, listed on and GrantConnect; or
  • be invited to apply by the Minister

Other eligibility requirements apply.

Deadline to apply:

Applications close:

  • 30 June 2019 for Eligible Councils announced in 2018
  • 1 December 2019 for Eligible Councils announced in March 2019
  • 1 June 2020 for the Eligible Councils announced during the 2019 election campaign


AGL's Farmers Assist

Unpredictable and intense weather conditions are impacting farming communities across Australia. AGL's Farmers Assist program looks to give farmers greater control and certainty during these challenging times with two new assistance packages available.

Drought Relief Assistance offers eligible AGL customers, who are drought-affected farmers, the opportunity to wipe up to $1,500 (incl GST) of existing debt (as of 18 June 2019) from their AGL business energy account (total across gas/electricity).

Solar Assistance allows eligible drought-affected farmers to receive an upfront discount of between $2,500 -$25,000 (excl GST) on the cost of an AGL supplied and installed solar panel system (between 10kW and 100kW in size).

For more information visit:

How to Apply

AGL’s Farmers Assist packages are available to eligible farmers who are based in AGL serviceable, drought-affected areas of NSW, QLD, VIC, SA or WA until 18 October 2019 unless the subscription limit is reached earlier or that date is extended. Full list of eligibility criteria can be found at

Visit, click on the program you want to apply for and submit a quick and simple online application.

Alternatively, to discuss your applications please call:

Drought Relief Assistance:  131 245

Solar Support Assistance: 1300 361 391


Other Support

The Salvation Army, St Vincent de Paul Society and Rotary Australia World Community Service have been engaged to deliver the assistance. Eligible households should reach out to these organisations directly to seek financial support (details below).

The Salvation Army
24 hour hotline: 1300 551 030

St Vincent de Paul 
Hotline: 13 18 12 



Drought Communities Programme


On 7 November 2019, the Australian Government announced a further range of drought measures, including that it would provide $128 million under the Drought Communities Programme Extension to 128 councils, 122 of which had previously received funding and an additional six councils experiencing hardship due to drought. The 128 eligible councils will each be provided $1 million to complete local infrastructure and other drought-relief projects. This brings the commitment under the Drought Communities Programme Extension to $301 million since 2018-19.

More Information


Water for Fodder program set to open next week

Farmers in the southern connected Murray–Darling Basin will soon be able to apply to purchase water at a discounted rate through the Australian Government’s Water for Fodder program.

The department has published guidelines to allow farmers to familiarise themselves with the process before the program opens for applications in the second week of December.

A total of 40 billion litres will be available for purchase this water year (2019 –20) and another 60 billion litres in the next water year (2020–21).

Individual farmers can apply to purchase 50 megalitre allocations for $5,000, or up to 2 allocations of 50 megalitres each if they hold more than 1 water allocation account.

Acting head of Water division, Mary Colreavy, encourages farmers to read the program guidelines this week so they are ready to apply when the program opens.

General Assistance

Need help to pay your electricity or gas bills?                  

You have rights.

Stronger protections are now available to households having trouble paying their energy bills.

The Australian Energy Regulator has taken action to assist vulnerable customers experiencing payment difficulties by introducing an enforceable Customer Hardship Policy Guideline.

Energy retailers have important responsibilities in helping vulnerable customers. The Guideline requires energy retailers to provide consistent minimum standards of assistance, ensure hardship programs are easily accessible and put processes in place to identify customers who may need help.

Customers participating in a hardship program will get access to different payment options, help finding a better energy plan, tips on energy efficiency, and information about government concessions, relief schemes, energy rebates and financial counselling services.

Other help may also be available – All energy providers have a hardship policy that tells you how they can assist you if you are having trouble paying your energy bills due to hardship. You can find it on their website or ask them to post you copy.

If you are in a hardship program and meetings its conditions your energy provider cannot disconnect you.

When life is tough call your energy retailer and talk to them about your situation.

For more information, visit the Australian Energy Regulator’s website at

Lifeline Assistance Contact List


Find our location

Level 1, 516 Ruthven Street,
Toowoomba Qld 4350
PO Box 2519, Toowoomba BC Qld 4350