Disaster information and support for ASU members 

This information is for ASU members and delegates regarding the extreme flooding events in Lismore and the Northern Rivers Area. Our priority is ensuring that every ASU member is safe, and that essential services can continue to be provided. 

If you or your colleagues need support or assistance in relation to work or changes to your service, you can contact the ASU on (02) 9310 4000. You can also call or text your organiser Maddie Feledy directly on 0448 131 163. 

Information on available and immediate supports is constantly being updated and our website will be updated to reflect this. 

You can find advice from the National Council of Social Service (NCOSS) here.  

If you require emergency help or assistance, contact the SES on 132 500. If you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency call 000. 

You can access information on available government support for Northern NSW at Services Australia.

Where to get immediate assistance 

Evacuation Assistance

Immediate financial assistance  

The Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment is a lump sum payment of $1,000 per adult and $400 for each child younger that 16 that is available for members in the following local areas: 

  • Armidale 
  • Ballina 
  • Bellingen 
  • Byron 
  • Clarence Valley 
  • Coffs Harbour 
  • Glen Innes Severn 
  • Hornsby 
  • Kempsey 
  • Kyogle 
  • Lismore 
  • Nambucca 
  • Port Macquarie/Hastings 
  • Richmond Valley 
  • Tenterfield 
  • The Hills 
  • Tweed. 

This is a one-off, non-means tested payment that is available to eligible people in those affected local government areas who have suffered significant loss, including people who have had their homes severely damaged or destroyed, or have been injured by the floods. 

Apply for government support through Service NSW.

Income assistance

If you have lost work, or income as a direct result of the Northern Rivers floods in February 2022, you may be eligible for the Disaster Recovery Allowance (up to 13 weeks). 

To meet the eligibility requirements, you must meet all of the following: 

  • were 16 or older at the time of the floods 
  • are an Australian resident or hold an eligible visa 
  • work or live in an affected Local Government Area (LGA) 
  • lost income as a direct result of the storms and floods 
  • earn less than the average Australian weekly income in the weeks after you had this income loss. 

If you are eligible you will get the maximum equivalent rate of the JobSeeker Payment or Youth Allowance depending on your individual circumstances. 

If you’re between 16 and 21, the government must consider you to be independent to get this payment.

Apply for government support through Service NSW.

What if don’t have personal identification documents?  

If you do not have personal identification documents with you, Services NSW is offering the free replacement of important documents that have been lost by the floods. You can call Services NSW on 13 77 88 for assistance. 

Information on employment entitlements during natural disasters and emergencies 

You may have employee entitlements from your employer to assist you through this time. Employees may have entitlements under an Award or Enterprise Agreement that are relevant when you are unable to attend work due to an emergency or natural disaster. The Fair Work guidelines on employment entitlements can be found here. 

If you require time off work as a result of the floods, the first step is to ask your employer what leave is available (some employers will have their own disaster leave for staff). 

You can also access accrued leave entitlements: 

Sick/carer’s leave  

Under the Fair Work Act, employees (other than casual employees) affected by natural disaster or emergency may have the entitlement to paid sick/carer’s leave. You can take this leave if you are not fit for work due to illness or injury or if you need to provide care or support to immediate family or household member due to illness, injury or in the event of an unexpected emergency.

Compassionate leave 

All employees are entitled to 2 days of compassionate leave per occasion to spend time with a member of their immediate family or household who has sustained a life-threatening illness or injury. 

What if my service has been affected and I cannot attend my workplace?  

Your employer will need to consider available options if they have had to temporarily close because of the floods. Use the checklist below to speak with your employer about what options are available to you. 

  • If your employer has multiple worksites in the area and not all sites have been affected, can you temporarily relocate for work? 
  • Where and if appropriate, can you work from home? 
  • Can you take a period of accrued leave (for example, personal leave or annual leave)? 

If you need assistance with finding alternative arrangements for work or accessing your leave entitlements, contact the ASU for support. 

Additional supports  

Government Child Care Subsidy 

If you have been affected by a major disaster event or have had your home severely damaged or destroyed, you may be eligible for the Additional Child Care Subsidy Child Wellbeing support. Information on this support can be found here. 

Mental Health Support  

If you need mental health support through this time you can contact the NSW Mental Health Line on 1800 011 511.  

  • Lifeline provides 24-hour support on 13 11 14. 
  • Beyond Blue provides 24-hour support on 1300 22 4636 

Family & Domestic Violence Support 

The NSW Domestic Violence helpline provides counselling and referral services 24/7. You can contact them on 1800 656 463.

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