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Joint media release with the Hon Jaclyn Symes

Disaster assistance is available to communities impacted by the fires and storms in Victoria that commenced on 13 February 2024, jointly funded by the Australian and Victorian Governments under the Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA).

The funding will allow eligible community members whose homes have been impacted by the fires and storms to access emergency relief payments through the Personal Hardship Assistance Program (PHAP). This program is being delivered by the Victorian Department of Families, Fairness and Housing.

People are eligible for an emergency relief payment if they have unmet immediate relief needs and:

  • their principal place of residence was in an evacuation warning area, or
  • the fires or storms have damaged their home.

Assistance includes a one-off payment of $640 per adult and $320 per child up to a maximum of $2,240 per eligible family to help cover the costs of essentials like food, clothing, medication and accommodation. Payments are a fixed amount for each household member and are not means tested.

If you think you may be eligible for a relief payment, you can find out more by calling the Emergency Recovery Hotline on 1800 560 760 or by contacting your local council. You can search for your local council on the Know your council website.

Anybody who has an immediate recovery need can call the Emergency Recovery Hotline on 1800 560 760 and have a conversation with a recovery support worker.

Support from the Australian and Victorian Governments also includes funding for counter disaster operations, like making residential properties safe and habitable, and emergency works for debris removal and essential public asset restoration.

Emergency Recovery Victoria (ERV) is working with local councils to understand the assistance required to support communities following the floods and storms. Councils can notify ERV of impacts via the Claims Management System or email

Information on disaster assistance is available on the Australian Government’s DisasterAssist website and the VicEmergency website
Quotes attributable to Federal Minister for Emergency Management Murray Watt:
“The Australian and Victorian Governments are working together to make sure those individuals and families who need assistance can access support and services to help their recovery journey.
"The recovery journey can take a long time and the Australian and Victorian Governments will continue to look at the ongoing impacts and what more is needed to support councils and communities.”

Quotes attributable to Minister for Emergency Services Jaclyn Symes:
“These emergency relief payments will ensure Victorians are able to dedicate their energy to getting their lives back to normal, without worrying about affording food, clothing and other necessities.”

This release was originally published on the Ministers for the Department of Home Affairs' website.