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Emergency personnel support

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Support is available for emergency personnel 

The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) is supporting families and communities across Australia impacted by disasters.

This includes support for emergency personnel for workers (paid and volunteer) and their families.

Paid and volunteer emergency personnel can also access mental health support, visit our Mental health page to learn more.

Support from telecommunications providers

Telecommunications providers including Telstra, Optus, and Vodafone may offer specific relief for emergency worker customers. This includes free mobile phone bills during certain times.

You can talk to your service provider about this support.

Access to paid leave

Commonwealth public servants who volunteer with state rural fire services can access at least four weeks (20 days) of paid emergency services leave.

This leave is so that they can work on the front lines and is separate to their regular annual and sick leave. You can talk to your employer to discuss your access to these, or similar, arrangements.

Volunteer firefighter payments

This funding has supported volunteer firefighters who lost income while being called out for long periods of volunteer service. Support has been provided to more than 3,200 volunteers involved in the response to the 2019-20 Black Summer bushfires. Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Tasmania, South Australia and Queensland took part in this program.

Free financial counselling

If you are experiencing financial hardship, free financial counselling support is available.

The Rural Financial Counselling Service provides emergency personnel support to improve their financial situation in response to national disasters and drought. Check your nearest office by calling 1800 686 175.

The Small Business Financial Support Line 1800 413 828 is staffed by specialist financial counsellors. They can provide emergency personnel support and advice on the assistance available for workers in disaster-affected areas.

You can call the free National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007 (Monday to Friday 9:30am-4:30pm).

Money Smart also offers advice for other financial issues to support you after a disaster.

Additional information

The National Emergency Management Agency is Australia’s National Disaster Management Organisation.

The Agency manages the Australian Government Disaster Response Plan under which states and territories may seek Australian Government assistance when the scale of an emergency or disaster exceeds or exhausts the jurisdiction’s response capacity and capabilities, or where resources cannot be mobilised in sufficient time.

The Agency delivers programs, policies and services that strengthen Australia's national security and emergency management capability.

Learn more about the Agency's emergency management functions.