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Financial Hardship Escalates for Bushfire-Affected Australians

Posted by Lanyana Financial Group on Mar 5, 2020 11:59:44 AM

The catastrophic, deadly summer fires of 2019-2020 have blackened an area near the size of England destroying over 20% of Australia's bushland.

The damage is estimated to have affected 18.6 million hectares of forest, (46 million acres), damaged over 5,900 buildings and killed at least 34 people. Approximately one billion animals were affected with the possibility of some endangered species driven to extinction.

The economic cost is yet to be determined. but, experts are estimating it will be near $100 million. Many Australians have had homes, business and the economic livelihood of there towns destroyed.

If you are experiencing financial difficulties due to the devastating bushfire crisis you may be able to get help to pay loans, mortgages, credit cards, or bills. Customers can have their loan repayments deferred, fees and charges waived and existing loans restructured.

There is a also range of specific government assistance packages available for communities impacted and the Australian Tax Office (ATO) is offering support for those whose business have been affected.

The Banks Emergency Bushfire Relief 


Banks offering packages include the big four banks – Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank, Westpac and ANZ – as well as ING, Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, Bank of Queensland, Suncorp and Macquarie Bank.

ANZ, Commonwealth Bank, NAB and Westpac pledged millions of dollars in additional disaster relief:

  • ANZ pledged $1 million for bushfire relief including home loan customers who have lost their home to the fires.
  • Commonwealth Bank extended its Emergency Assistance Package to provide financial support and emergency accommodation to its personal and business customers affected by the bushfires.
  • NAB increased its bushfire recovery funds for customers and employees to $4 million for emergency grants and extended the money to impacted business owners and farmers.
  • Westpac will pay mortgage repayments for one year, up to $1,200 per month, for its customers who have lost their principal place of residence due to the bushfires. Its support package also includes interest-free home loans for customers who need to rebuild, low-interest loans for business and $3 million in emergency grants.

If you have been impacted, it’s important to get in touch with your bank as soon as possible to apply for assistance. You can find the contact details below of financial hardship teams for a number of banks offering assistance.

Bank

Phone Number

Website

AMP 1300 130 191 Experiencing Financial Hardship
ANZ 1800 252 845 Customer Connect
BOQ 1800 079 866 Financial Hardship Assistance
BankSA 1800 679 461 BankSA Assist
Bankwest 1300 769 173 Experiencing Financial Hardship
Bendigo and Adelaide Bank 1300 652 146 Financial Difficulty Assistance
Citibank 1800 722 879 Hardship Assistance
Commonwealth Bank 1300 720 814 Emergency Assistance
HSBC 1300 555 988 Financial Difficulty
ING 1300 349 166 Financial Hardship
Macquarie Bank 1300 363 330 Financial Hardship
Me Bank 1300 500 520 Me Bank Financial Hardship 
MyState 13 800 1 MyState Financial Hardship
NAB 1800 701 599 Financial Hardship
Rabobank 1800 025 484 Financial Hardship
Rural Bank 1800 660 115 Financial Hardship
St. George Bank 1800 629 795 St. George Assist
Suncorp Bank 1800 225 223 Suncorp Customer Assist
Westpac 1800 067 497 Westpac Assist

Government Natural Disaster Assistance

There are a number of Federal and State Government financial assistance programs available to Australians impacted by the bushfires.

The Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment 

The Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment (AGDRP) is available for people who have been seriously injured or have lost or damaged homes as a result of the bushfires. This is also extended to immediate family members of a person who has died as a direct result of the bushfires.

The first is a one-off payment of $400 for children and $1,000 for adults. Individuals can claim the one-off payment by calling Centrelink on 180 22 66. Only individuals in local Government areas listed on Centrelink’s website can make a claim.

Disaster Recovery Allowance

The Disaster Recovery Allowance (DRA) provides income support payments for up to 13 weeks, up to the applicable rate of Newstart or Youth Allowance, depending on your circumstances.

Applicants may be required to prove that they lost income due to bushfires. It is available to Australian residents who are at least 16 years old, who do not already receive another income support payment or pension from Centrelink.

Bushfire Relief for Australian Companies and Business

ATO Tax Payment Relief

The Australia Taxation Office (ATO) will automatically defer any lodgements or payments for people who live in one of the identified postcodes impacted by the bushfires. If your postcode isn’t on that list, you may still apply for assistance by calling The Emergency Support Infoline on 1800 806 218.

According to the ATO website, support will consist of:

  • Extra time to pay debt or lodge tax forms, such as activity statements,
  • Help finding your lost tax file number by using identity verification methods such as asking for your date of birth, address and bank account details,
  • Re-issuing income tax returns, activity statements and notices of assessment,
  • Help you re-construct tax records lost or damaged in the bushfires,
  • Fast-track any refunds you are owed,
  • Set up a payment plan tailored to your circumstances, including an interest-free period, or
  • Remit penalties or interest charged during the time you have been affected by the bushfires.

Other help for Australian businesses affected by bushfires can be found here.

How Lanyana Financial Group Can Help

If you, your family or loved ones have been financially effected by the aftermath of devastating bushfires, there may be additional support Lanyana Financial Group can offer. We have the ability to further negotiate your debt repayments, have loan repayments deferred, fees and charges waived and possibly existing loans restructured.

Lanyana Financial Group exists to improve the financial wellbeing of Australian businesses and individuals with holistic, caring, non-judgmental, debt management and lending solutions. We consider all financial circumstances and will offer solutions without prejudice. We promise confidentiality and transparency and are committed to offering comprehensive information to help clients make informed decisions regarding their financial future.

Please get in touch with our team today on 1800 534 534 for further assistance. 

Topics: Business Debt, Personal Debt

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