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Update on COVID-19- The safety of our communities, customers and staff is our top priority. We are continuing to monitor daily developments in response to COVID-19. Find out the latest.

Recovering after an emergency

March 2021 storms and flooding

We've put together some useful information to help our community recover after the storms and flooding in March 2021.

A natural disaster declaration has been made for Port Stephens. This means there is practical support and financial assistance available to help get you back on your feet.

  • Find out what financial assistance you’re eligible for at Service NSW, visit www.service.nsw.gov.au or phone 13 77 88
  • Contact your insurance company for damage to personal property. For advice and guidance, contact the Insurance Council of Australia hotline on 1800 734 621.
  • The Disaster Relief Grant helps people to recover from the effects of a disaster and re-establish a basic standard of living. It is not provided to replace insurance or compensate for losses. You may be eligible for financial support if your home was damaged by a natural disaster, you do not have insurance for the damage, you are a low-income earner with limited financial resources and it has been less than 4 months since the disaster. Phone 13 77 88 and ask about the Disaster Relief Grant administered by Resilience NSW.
  • The Australian Government’s Disaster Recovery Payment of $1000 for adults and $400 for children is a one-off, non-means tested payment for people who have been seriously injured, lost their homes or whose homes have been directly damaged, or the immediate family members of a person who has lost their life, as a direct result of the storms and floods. Call 180 22 66 or visit www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/disaster
  • The Australian Government’s Disaster Recovery Allowance is a short-term income support for up to 13 weeks to assist individuals whose income has been affected as a direct result of the storms and floods. Visit www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/disaster to find out if you are eligible or phone 180 22 66.
  • There are still a number of roads closed across Port Stephens — check our road closures page or the Disaster Dashboard before you travel https://disaster.portstephens.nsw.gov.au/
  • We expect there will be water over roads for some time.
  • Our crews are working hard to fix potholes on all of our roads and regrade unsealed roads. Lodge a request online for maintenance, repairs, roads, waste and other services.
  • Our kerbside collection service is the best way to get rid of bulky items — book your collection online and be sure to only put your waste on the kerb once collection is confirmed.
  • For flood-affected waste, please contact your insurer in the first instance.
  • We are investigating additional waste services for those in affected areas.
  • Check our waste pages for more information about drop off days, waste disposal locations and more.

For issues with sewage and water, contact Hunter Water on 1300 657 657 or  www.hunterwater.com.au

  • Port Stephens Family and Neighbourhood Services — 4987 1331
  • The Samaritans, Raymond Terrace — 1300 656 336
  • St Vincent De Paul, Tomaree — 4982 0192
  • Overflow Church- Medowie — 4982 9123
  • Hume Housing — 02 9722 4300
  • The Hope Centre, All Saints Church, Nelson Bay — 4981 1839
  • Salvation Army, Anna Bay — Gail 0473 190 236 — available Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 9am to 4pm

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 information on what supports are available visit www.smallbusiness.nsw.gov.au or phone 1300 795 534.

Flood assistance for landholders, stock losses, infrastructure damage — request animal  assessment, or request emergency fodder by calling Agricultural and Animal Services Hotline on 1800 814 647 or by submitting an online survey http://bit.ly/damage_survey

Recovery from disasters takes time and mental health support will aid the long-term recovery of our impacted communities.

Phone the NSW Mental Health Line at any time on 1800 011 511.

The NSW Government is urging people to take advantage of its official partnership with national not-for-profit charity platform GIVIT when donating money and goods and services to those affected by the floods.

Australian Red Cross — Funds donated will enable Australian Red Cross to provide humanitarian support to people and communities in New South Wales affected by the 2021 floods. Based on ongoing needs assessment and amount raised, this support may include:

  • disaster relief including practical and financial assistance
  • supporting people and communities to recover and to build resilience to disasters

Donations can be made online at redcross.org.au/NSWfloods

Immediately after an emergency

  • If you have been hurt, seek medical attention.
  • Be prepared to look after yourself if help does not come.
  • Stay up to date — be aware of what is going on around you and listen to local radio for updates.
  • Check on your neighbours and vulnerable people in your community, including older people and those with disabilities or special needs.
  • Consider your animals — you are responsible for the welfare of your pets and livestock.

Returning home

If you have evacuated, you must wait until emergency services give the 'all clear' before it is safe to return to your home.

  • Stock up on non-perishable food, bottled water, medications, a torch and batteries.
  • Fill up your fuel tank and withdraw cash as ATMs may not be working or banks may be closed.
  • Consider leaving pets and children with family in a safe area until you can assess when it is safe and less distressing for them to return.
  • Be prepared for a slow journey — road conditions may have changed and there may be detours in place.
  • Keep listening to local radio for up-to-date information about the emergency and any new potential risks.
  • Avoid downed power lines, fallen trees, damaged infrastructure and other hazards like floodwater.
  • Do not go sight-seeing as this may hinder recovery efforts or put yourself and others at risk.

If you are returning to an affected area, it's important to be aware of health and safety risks.

  • You need to be mentally and emotionally prepared when returning to your property.
  • Ensure the structural stability of your property before entering.
  • Make sure the electricity and gas is turned off before going inside.
  • If power points, electrical equipment or appliances have been exposed to water, they must be inspected by a qualified electrician.
  • Wear protective clothing including enclosed shoes, a mask and gloves when cleaning up.
  • Be aware of any slip, trip or fall hazards.
  • Contact your insurance company as soon as possible to inform them of any loss or damages. If you are not insured, there may be resources available through government or non-government agencies.

Read more from the Red Cross about cleaning up after a disaster.


Recovering from a disaster is a complex process that may take months, even years to overcome. After a major disaster, government authorities and service agencies coordinate recovery operations to help communities recover.

We support emergency services to manage and respond to local natural disasters and emergencies. Our role after an emergency is to lead clean-up efforts and coordinate repairs to public assets like roads, parks, drainage and trees.

How to help after a disaster

  • Check on your neighbours, friends and family following a flood and see if there is anything you can do to assist.
  • Volunteer to help out in your local community — check with your local recovery committee to see what needs to be done.
  • Donations can assist disaster affected communities — make sure it's a legitimate charity before you donate money. If you intend to donate goods, ensure they are needed by the affected community.