Flood Recovery Hub

Monday 12 April 2021

Help with Recovery

If you've been impacted by the floods, in the first instance contact Service NSW on 13 77 88 to help you find rapid and relevant assistance for your unique situation.

The Service NSW website has a Disaster Assistance Finder tool which can get you started.

Flood clean up and waste removal hotline (8.30am - 4.30pm): Call 1300 545 040 or visit the MidCoast Recovery Centre in Taree.

For all road closures, re-openings and updates visit myroadinfo. Information and advice will appear here as we get it, and this page will be updated regularly.

For general information on storm and flood recovery in our area, from the State Government, click here.(PDF, 177KB)

Flood Recovery newsletter

Sign up to subscribe to our email Flood Recovery newsletter to receive all updates and help available.

View the previous Flood Recovery newsletters here:

 



Recovery Centre

A dedicated recovery centre has been operating in the former MidCoast Council chambers in Pulteney Street Taree.

From Monday 28 June, centre operations will change to appointment-only. 

From this date if you would like to speak to someone about your needs or to book an appointment, phone Service NSW on 13 77 88 or our flood recovery hotline on 1300 545 040, between 8.30am and 4.30pm Monday to Friday.

The MidCoast Recovery Centre will continue to provide support for the community’s needs and information and advice about all the programs that are available from the government, charities and local support services.

Service NSW is working in partnership with fellow State Agencies, MidCoast Council and the Australian Government to provide impacted people with information on and access to:

  • Accommodation advice
  • Replacing lost documents 
  • Mental health and wellbeing services
  • Support for businesses
  • Clean-up services
  • Financial assistance
  • Insurance and legal support 

TAREE  2 Pulteney Street  (old Council chambers)

Open by appointment only - phone 1300 545 040 to make a booking.



Accommodation

If you require accommodation assistance, please call: Compass Housing 1300 333 733 or Disaster Welfare 1800 018 444.

Airbnb is hosting a site where you can offer or find free emergency housing during the NSW flooding. Go to www.airbnb.com/nswfloods21p



Donations

The NSW Government is urging people not to donate unwanted goods to communities affected by the floods.

Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott is urging people to use the NSW Government partnership site, GIVIT when donating either money or the listed goods and services that are needed.

“When we witness devastation, it is human nature to do anything we can to help. One of the key things we ask is that people don’t take unrequested items into storm and flood-impacted areas. We need to ensure local charities and recovery organisations aren’t inundated with donations they don’t need,” Mr Elliott said.

Please Visit GIVIT.org.au to donate

More information about GIVIT(PDF, 388KB)



Disaster relief funding

A disaster declaration has been announced for the MidCoast Council area. This declaration provides support for members of the community who have been impacted by flooding.
 

NSW Government assistance

To find out information on personal hardship and distress assistance contact Service NSW on 13 77 88.

The Service NSW website has a Disaster Assistance Finder tool to help you find rapid and relevant assistance for your unique situation.

 
Visit the NSW Rural Assistance Authority to find out what grants or loans you may be able to apply for:
There is specific assistance for primary producers, small business and not for profit organisations: Apply for a disaster relief loan here

Primary producers can apply for transport subsidies: Apply for a primary producer transport subsidy here

The RAA also requests that  primary producers report flood-related damage including stock and fodder losses, damage to crops, pastures, fencing and other farm infrastructure through the Natural Disaster Damage Survey. This helps to inform the severity and regional distribution of the damage to support targeted resources and assistance in appropriate areas.

For more information on how the RAA can assist you, please call 1800 678 593 or email rural.assist@raa.nsw.gov.au.

Australian Government assistance

The Australian Government has activated the Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment and Disaster Recovery Allowance to support people adversely affected by the storms and floods in NSW.

The quickest and easiest way to claim is to call 180 22 66. Check your eligibility at www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/disaster 

More information on Australian Government disaster assistance is available at www.disasterassist.gov.au   

Centrelink

Access disaster relief payments: 1802266

Job Seeker Assistance 

Job seeker requirements have been relaxed during the flood period. The Government will lift mutual obligation requirements for job seekers in the Local Government Areas impacted by the NSW floods and storms from Friday 19 March until Tuesday 6 April 2021.

No job seeker in the affected areas will face payment suspension or financial penalties for failing to meet their mutual obligation requirements such as not being able to attend appointments or activities.

More information about mutual obligations requirements can be found here

Salvation Army Grants

The Salvation Army NSW Flood Grant is for people who have suffered significant loss or hardship as a result of the NSW Floods in March 2021 can now be applied for online.

The grant consists of a $1,000 payment per household.

More information(PDF, 182KB) on the Salvation Army grants.

Wesley Mission Emergency Support 

Wesley Mission can help with food and clothing vouchers, purchase of essential household items and/or payment of bills.

Contact via the website only: www.wesleymission.org.au/emergencyrelief

Manning Valley Neighbourhood Services

Provides direct financial support and assistance to people having difficulty paying bills or accessing items for personal needs. Please call 6553 5121 for an assessment. Open Monday -Thursday 9am - 3m.

Telstra 

Telstra is offering its customers disaster relief packages. For more information and to apply visit their webpage here.

Motor vehicle stamp duty relief

Motorists whose cars have been written off as a result of a natural disaster may be eligible for a stamp duty refund on their replacement vehicle.

Contact Revenue NSW: 1300 139 814 



Health and recovery assistance

Residents in flood-affected NSW are now able to access telehealth with any available GP, even if you have not seen that GP or practice before. This has been enacted to ensure access to care is maintained to those who require it. You can call any GP clinic for a telephone consultation.

The Primary Health Network may be able to assist with a range a programs for disaster-affected people.

You can also access health support through the Farmgate Support Program, the contact details are:

Farmgate Support Program  0477 322 851 
Local Farmgate Support Workers:
TAREE 
David Rosewarne:  0428 136 447  David.Rosewarne@health.nsw.gov.au
GLOUCESTER Leanne Tilse 0419 747 276 Leanne.Tilse@health.nsw.gov.au

Drinking water

The MidCoast region’s drinking water is safe for consumption and has remained so since the disaster began.

Council has extensive monitoring and control measures in place to ensure our water is safe to drink, even during and after flood events.

More information

Mental health support 

If you are experiencing mental health issues as a result of the flood emergency, you can self refer to:

Tony Colechin
Bush Fire Recovery Clinician | Manning Mental Health
Monday to Thursday
Registered Nurse
144 Commerce St Taree 2430
Tel Mob 0407801331 | Anthony.Colechin@health.nsw.gov.au

Jinu Abraham
Bushfire Recovery Clinician (Social Worker) | Manning Mental Health Services
 P.O. Box 4115, Forster Shopping Village NSW 2428
14 Breese Parade, Forster NSW 2428
Tel (02) 6539 6300 | Fax (02) 6557 2107 | Mob 0407 609 690| jinu.abraham2@health.nsw.gov.au
www.hnehealth.nsw.gov.au

You can also call the NSW Mental Health Line anytime on 1800 011 511.
Mensline – 1300 789 978
Kids Helpline – 1800 55 1800
Beyondblue – 1300 22 4636 

Lifeline

For those seeking crisis support call 13 11 14,  text 0477 13 11 14 or visit the Lifeline website. 

For counselling support (Gloucester, Taree or Forster) without referral or charge call 1300 152 854. 

Australian Red Cross

Visit the Red Cross website for help to check in with those affected by floods, or to give support, or receive assistance. 

For people living with a disability 

IDEAS is a national disability information service. They are open and have lots of emergency information at their fingertips. Their phone number is 1800 029 904. 

Immediate Equipment Needs

The NDIS call centre can provide approvals for urgent aids and equipment repairs over the phone – 1800 800 110.

Information for providers and participants in extending plans. This also includes hiring equipment. If the repair (or hire) needs to occur outside call centre hours, the NDIA says go ahead and organise straight away – approval can be made the next day. Self-managed and plan managed participants should just claim for repairs or hire from their current plan. If you do not have enough funds, contact the call centre for help. 

Mould removal and air quality

If you are concerned about mould, please read the NSW Health Fact Sheet for guidance.



Clean up - flood damage

If you are insured, speak to your insurer first to find out exactly what your policy covers, and how the insurer wants you to dispose of flood damaged items.

Take plenty of photos of the damage prior to cleaning up.

If you have issues with your insurer, get in contact with the Insurance Council of Australia at www.insurancecouncil.com.au.

Please read the fact sheet from Resilience NSW(PDF, 69KB) before you engage tradespeople to help with recovery or repairs to property.

Returning to a flood damaged property

Important health advice(PDF, 107KB) for clean up workers from NSW Health

If your property has been affected by floodwater:

  • Make sure your property is safe before entering. Check for damage to windows, walls and the roof. Make sure the electricity and gas is turned off before going inside.
  • If power points, electrical equipment, appliances or electrical hot water systems have been exposed to floodwater or are water damaged in any way, they must be inspected by a qualified electrician before use
  • Gas appliances and gas bottles that have been exposed to floodwater should be inspected for safety before use
  • Wear protective clothing, including boots and gloves when cleaning up
  • Be aware of any slip, trip or fall hazards
  • Never eat food which has been in contact with floodwater
  • Only use clean utensils and personal items and have a supply of fresh drinking water
  • For the latest information listen to your local ABC radio station
  • Follow us on Facebook at /NSWSES or our website at www.ses.nsw.gov.au

Flood Recovery hotline

As the clean-up continues across the MidCoast we have created a Flood Recovery Hotline that will operate from 8.30am to 4.30pm, 7 days a week.

The hotline is to assist the coordination of the clean-up and is for all your flood waste and removal enquiries.

Please call 1300 545 040 to register your location and flood waste removal needs.

This information will be sent to the strikeforce teams to help when they can.

We have enlisted and deployed more than 35 trucks and excavators across the region to assist and we hope to get to everyone quickly.

Free kerbside collection of flood waste

This program has now ended for the March 2020 flood event.

 

Carcass Removal

Local Land Services is coordinating removal of animal carcasses and the community is encouraged to phone them on 1800 814 647 to report and arrange for pick-up.

Domestic waste disposal services

 

Waste collection services are operating normally, unless unable to access your collection point due to flooding.

The EPA waste levy has been removed from tipping fees for flood affected waste. The $190 per tonne fee has been reduced to $97.49 per tonne.

Our annual bulky waste collection was interrupted by the flood event, check here for an update: Bulky waste update

If you've lost your bins in the flood event, call 7955 7777 to organise a replacement.



Refund for flood waste fees at waste disposal facility

All MidCoast residents who took flood waste to local waste management facilities between March 22 and 29 are eligible for reimbursement of their costs. 

To claim the reimbursement members of the community need to register here (reimbursement will only be paid subject to the production of a receipt):

Open the form to register for a refund



Floods and septic systems

A septic system cannot function properly during flooding or when the soil is waterlogged, which can cause a sewage back-up and surcharge in the home. If your property is unsewered and has been recently affected by heavy rainfall, please take the following precautions:

  • Organise for your septic tank to be pumped out by one of the contractors listed below. This will give you capacity to continue using your septic tank while allowing time for the disposal area to dry out.

    Note: pumping out the septic tank needs to be done carefully to avoid the tank from floating and popping out of the ground. A plastic tank should only be pumped out by no more than two-thirds of its capacity.

  •  Try to minimise water usage while the land application area remains saturated; and

  • Arrange for a qualified plumber or drainer to inspect the septic system if you suspect it has been damaged.

Failed systems

While flooding is unlikely to damage the structure of your septic tank, flood water may enter the septic system through the toilet, other fixtures, or the overflow relief gully grate. Flooding of the septic system may wash out solids from the tank causing blockages or damage. A failed system may not be easy to identify, but some simple indications include: 

  • pungent odour around the tank and land application area

  • blocked fixtures and wastewater overflowing from the relief point

  • high sludge levels in the tank and

  • sewage flowing up through the toilet and sinks.

Some on-site wastewater treatment systems rely on mechanical and electrical equipment such as pumps, aerators, and filters, which may be damaged during flooding or when there is a loss of power. Contact your service provider in such situations to prevent injury or further damage to your system.

Safety issues that need to be checked

  • Beware of open covers/pits

  • Ruptured/leaking systems (including pipes)

  • Damaged/exposed pipes that may need repairing/capping/sealing off

Note: A qualified plumber will need to carry out any repairs other than temporary emergency works to prevent further overflows or inundation.

Remember, sewage contains harmful bacteria and other disease-causing organisms such as viruses and parasites. It needs to be cleaned up immediately to prevent potential illness. Ensure children and pets are excluded from any contamination until the impacted area has been cleaned and made safe.

Council approved sludge removal contractors

Transpacific Industries Pty Ltd: 4939 1111

JR Richards & Sons: 6555 7007

Mid Coast Liquid Waste: 6553 6388

Please contact one of our Environmental Health Officers in the on-site wastewater management team on 7955 7777 if sewage has overflowed inside your home or if you have any questions about your septic system.



Livestock support and clean up of carcasses

NSW DPI and Local Land Services work together to manage the effects of emergencies on agriculture and livestock.

This includes the current flood emergency in with the provision of emergency fodder, animal assessment and veterinary assistance, stock euthanasia and disposal, livestock feeding and management advice, and care of animals in evacuation centres.

Producers can call to report damage and stock losses, as well as request assistance. Contact the Agricultural and Animal Services Hotline: 1800 814 647.

 Available help includes: 

  • emergency fodder 
  • veterinary assistance
  • stock destruction and disposal
  • livestock feeding and management advice. 

Refer to the Fact Sheet(PDF, 745KB) here for specific advice.

Please check the disaster relief funding tab above - for loans and grants and assistance for primary producers. 



For our first responders

If you are a first responder, or a family member of a first responder, you may also need support.

Contact Fortem Australia
Clinical Team: 1300 33 95 94 Email: info@fortemaustralia.org.au



Help for Businesses

Service NSW has a dedicated help centre for businesses in disaster declared areas, including the MidCoast. They can help with personalised support, business loans and financial assistance, legal support, insurance assistance, mental health support, Telco support and more resources.

Small businesses and not-for-profit organisations directly impacted by the NSW storms and floods from 10 March 2021 onwards may be eligible for a flood disaster recovery grant of up to $50,000, and a disaster recovery grant of up to $75,000 is available to eligible primary producers.

Applications will open mid April and business owners can request a call back from a member of the Service NSW business concierge team.

For further information on these grants click here.

The NSW Small Business Commissioner has support services for small business owners who have suffered direct damage to their assets or loss of income following statewide flooding.

For more information, have a read of the Service NSW storms and floods business support fact sheet.(PDF, 197KB)



Money, legal, insurance and disputes assistance

Money smart

The Government's money smart website has some good advice if you're experiencing a natural disaster:

Urgent help with money

What to do after a natural disaster

Recovering from a natural disaster

Mid North Coast Financial Counselling Service can provide a free financial counselling and assistance service. Call 1300 662 540.

Legal help

Free legal help is available from:

  • Mid North Coast Community Legal Centre: 6580 2111  or
  • Legal Aid Disaster Response Legal Service: 1800 801 529

Insurance

Legal Aid has produced a fact sheet with advice on insurance: What to do after a disaster(PDF, 274KB)

The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) disaster hotline: 1800 734 621. Note this is not a claims lodgement service.  

Replacing lost land title documentation

NSW Land Registry Services will make title searches, replacement Certificates of Title and plan images free for property owners affected by flooding in NSW.
Contact: 1300 396 076 (regional callers) or (02) 8776 3575

Dispute resolution

Australian Financial Complaints Authority - helps with insurance disputes. Phone 1800 931 678 or their significant event hotline: 1800 337 444.

The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman - for unresolved phone and internet problems. If you are in a bushfire or flood affected area and have tried to fix your phone or internet issue with your telco, contact us on 1800 046 686 or 03 8600 8308 or visit the link to make a complaint online.

The Energy and Water Ombudsman - for issues with re-connections, payment difficulties and disputed billing. Call 1800 246 545 or visit the link to make a complaint online.



Wildlife rescue

Only trained carers are licensed to care for sick, injured or orphaned wildlife. Here's what to do if you come across displaced, stressed or injured animals during the floods:

  • If safe to do so, wrap and pick up the animal
  • Do not handle flying-foxes, snakes or kangaroos – call FAWNA for assistance with these species immediately
  • Contain it comfortably - a cool-bag in a quiet, safe and dark location is ideal
  • Note the capture location (a screen shot of the mapping app on your phone is a good way to do this)
  • Do not give the animal any food or water 

Call FAWNA 24 hour hotline (02) 6581 4141  OR take animals directly to your nearest vet

For koalas - do not pick up the animal. Call and report to Koalas in Care: 0439 406 770



Flood repair costs

Ongoing estimates suggest that we could be looking at as much as a $23 million repair bill for the March 2021 floods that devastated large parts of the local government area.

The flood event was the second largest on record, behind the 1929 flood, in the Taree area, which took the brunt of the natural disaster.

Initial estimates indicate the major road damage, which has been extensive, will come in at between $15 and $20 million. An amount of $3.7 million has been put on the cost of restoring and repairing public spaces such as buildings, parks, reserves and playgrounds.

This is not money the community will be expected to cover.

Transport infrastructure repairs costs are the subject of applications to the State Government in several stages, emergency response, immediate restoration and full restoration.

The $3.7 million for public space repairs will be covered by Council’s insurers.

It is expected it will take a significant amount of time to undertake all the repairs required on area roads. Several of our connecting roads suffered significant damage due to slope stability. With similar damage along much of the east coast of NSW and limited contractors able to complete repair these roads are expected to be out of action for some time. Find out more here.