This is to support job seekers and their communities in their recovery.
No job seeker in a fire affected area will be required to meet any mutual obligation requirements during this time. Volunteer firefighters involved in an emergency response will not have their income support payments cut while fighting fires.
Job seekers may volunteer to undertake their usual requirements and attend their usual activities where they choose to do so. Job seekers are encouraged to talk to their employment services provider about the ongoing services and support they can access, and how they can continue to participate in employment services during the contingency period.
The additional contingency arrangements will apply to anyone eligible for the Department of Human Services (DHS) Disaster Recover Allowance Payment in any Local Government area (LGA) that has been identified by Department of Home Affairs as being impacted by the bushfires.
A current list of Local Government Areas (LGAs) below:
Update: While nationwide contingency arrangements due to the bushfire crisis ended on the 19 January, on 6 January the Prime Minister announced that job seekers who have been or continue to be affected by bushfires will not have mutual obligation requirements until Friday 6 March.
Following the end of the nationwide contingency arrangement, job seekers who live outside of bushfire affected areas can contact Centrelink to seek an exemption from their requirements if they are affected by bushfires. This includes job seekers who are:
- volunteering as part of an emergency response (for example, volunteer firefighters)
- serving as part of the Defence Force Reserves as part of the bushfire recovery response
- living in and/or directly impacted by the bushfires, including job seekers who are temporarily away from their usual residence (for example, visiting family) and cannot return home
- providing support for a relative or loved one who has been directly impacted by the bushfires.