Emergency and disaster assistance for community organisations

Posted on 28 Mar 2022

By Funding Centre

This page provides information about financial assistance available to not-for-profit organisations and community groups affected by the covid-19 outbreak, bushfires, flood, drought and other natural disasters. It is updated as we become aware of changes. For the very latest information in these rapidly changing times, please check with the assistance provider.

Want to know how you can help organisations in need? Visit the GiveNow covid-19 Response page here.

If you're aware of other grants or assistance that should be listed on this page, please contact service@ourcommunity.com.au. If you’re a funder providing support for organisations impacted by COVID-19, submit your information here.

Most of the links on this page require you to have a Funding Centre subscription to access. Try the Funding Centre for free for 14 days here.

Funding Centre members can browse grants on our grants database here.


JobMaker Hiring Credit Scheme

The JobMaker Hiring Credit scheme is an incentive for businesses to employ additional young job seekers aged 16–35 years. Eligible employers can access the JobMaker Hiring Credit for each eligible additional employee they hire between 7 October 2020 and 6 October 2021. The Scheme is listed on the Funding Centre here.

ATO payment deferrals

For not-for-profits experiencing difficulties, the ATO can defer some payments by up to six months. Payments that may be deferred include income tax, activity statements, pay as you go (PAYG) instalments, FBT and excise payments. Contact the ATO's Emergency Support Infoline 1800 806 218 for more information on how to access this assistance.

Boosting cash flow for employers

Eligible not-for-profit (NFP) organisations who employ staff will receive between $20,000 to $100,000 in cash flow boost amounts by lodging their activity statements up to the month or quarter of September 2020. The cash flow boosts will be delivered as credits in the activity statement system. They will generally be equivalent to the amount withheld from wages paid to employees for each monthly or quarterly period from March to June 2020. More information on the ATO website here.

Amended guidelines for ancillary funds

The guidelines for private and public ancillary funds have been amended to encourage increased distributions to deductible gift recipients (DGRs) as a result of covid-19.

Private and public ancillary funds that exceed their minimum distribution rate for 2019–20 and 2020–21, by a total of five percentage points or more, will have a lower minimum distribution rate in future years.

To find out if you are eligible, see:

More information is available on the ATO website.

Government funding in your state or territory

Visit the relevant state or territory business website for information about assistance on offer which your organisation may be eligible to apply for. Links are below.

Information is being updated regularly - always check the funder’s website for more information before applying.

New South Wales

Social Sector Support Fund

The $50 million Social Sector Support Fund is part of the $200 million support package for not-for profits.

The SSSF is for eligible charities and Not-For-Profits (NFPs) in the social, health, disability and animal welfare service sectors in NSW.

Below are the current grant streams for the Support Fund:

  1. Workforce Contingency for DCJ providers delivering critical face-to-face supports - Please talk to your DCJ contract manager about whether you can access this payment
  2. Select Tender process for DCJ providers to provide immediate supports to clients - by invitation only
  3. Sector Support available to DCJ-contracted providers that need advice on implementing covid-19 management plans and undertaking associated risk assessments.

Your organisation may be eligible for funding under one or more of these grant streams.

Small business fees and charges rebate

If you are a sole trader, the owner of a small business or a not-for-profit organisation in NSW, you may be eligible for a small business fees and charges rebate of $1500. This rebate helps businesses recover from the impacts of covid-19 and encourages growth by reducing the cost of running a business. The rebate will be available until 30 June 2022. Visit the Funding Centre for more information.


COVID-19 Event Insurance

This insurance provides cover for creative, business, sporting and community events in Victoria that have to be cancelled (or have to run at reduced capacity) because of a State or Federal Government restriction due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you take out the insurance for your event and a State or the Federal Government imposes restrictions for the period your event is due to be held, you’ll receive the following payment:

  • 100% of the event’s declared value if the event has to be cancelled
  • 50% of the event’s declared value if the event goes ahead with reduced capacity (or you choose to cancel the event because of those capacity restrictions)

For multi-day events, the payment will be pro-rated for the part of the event affected by the government restrictions. The funding is listed on the Funding Centre website here.

28 July Victorian Business Support Package announced

A new jointly funded package from the Commonwealth and Victorian Governments will give Victorian small and medium businesses the extra support and confidence they need to recover from the recent lockdown.

The new Victorian Business Support Package will deliver an additional $400 million in support to thousands of businesses, with funding to be split 50/50 between the Commonwealth and Victorian Government.

The package includes:

  • $156 million Business Continuity Fund to deliver $5,000 grants to up to around 30,000 businesses that remain impacted by capacity limits placed on businesses by necessary public health restrictions. (closed 29 October 2021)
  • $80 million for the Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme (ongoing, on the Funding Centre here).

View the PM's press release here.


COVID-19 Cleaning rebate

The Queensland COVID-19 cleaning rebate supports small and medium businesses and not-for-profit organisations that have been listed as an exposure site by Queensland Health.

It will help cover professional cleaning expenses by providing a rebate of up to 80% of cleaning costs, capped at $10,000 (excluding GST) per incident, where a business is identified as a covid-19 exposure site by Queensland Health. The funding is ongoing and is listed on the Funding Centre here.

Australian Capital Territory

COVID-19 Small Business Hardship Scheme

Eligible small businesses will soon be able to apply to the ACT Government to receive credits for payroll tax, utility charges, rates and other selected fees and charges up to a maximum of $10,000 per operator. To be eligible for credits the applicant must be able to demonstrate 30 per cent loss in revenue. This scheme is for small businesses with a turnover between $30,000 and $10 million per annum. The Scheme closes March 4, 2022. Find it on the Funding Centre here.


Support for Aged Care Workers in COVID-19 (SACWIC)

The SACWIC grant opportunity is the second grant opportunity to be established under the COVID-19 Aged Care Support program. It is designed to minimise the risk of an infection occurring in the aged care sector. Applications have been extended until June 30, 2022. The funding is listed on the Funding Centre here.

CHSP Emergency support for COVID-19

CHSP aims to ensure CHSP service providers are able to continue to provide quality aged care services in an unexpected situation or one that poses a risk to the safety and care of aged care services recipients and/or staff. Applications close 30 June 2022 or until the funding allocation is exhausted. The funding is listed on the Funding Centre here.


Sounds Australia Export Stimulus Package (SAES)

The Sounds Australia Export Stimulus Program targeted support will assist Australian artists, crew and music professionals to realise significant career milestone opportunities, earn much needed income after 18 months of cancelled work, and support Australia’s quest to become a net exporting music nation. Grants will fund visas, flights, freight and carnets, pre-tour rehearsals, hotel quarantine, insurance and more.

Grants of up to a maximum of AUD$15,000 for each application are available. Applications for the next round open January 10, 2022 and close February 4, 2022. The funding is listed on the Funding Centre here.

COVID-19 Arts Sustainability Fund

Up to $5 million is available to arts organisations through the COVID-19 Arts Sustainability Fund, which provides ‘last resort’ funding assistance to significant Australian Government-funded arts organisations that are assessed to be at imminent risk of insolvency as a direct result of covid-19. Applications close 31 May, 2022. The funding is listed on the Funding Centre here.

Support Act Crisis Relief Grants

With funding support from the Australian Government through the Office for the Arts, Support Act has expanded its services to offer Crisis Relief to music industry professionals impacted by covid-19.

The funding will offer relief to musicians, crew and music workers who are unable to access Government benefits due to eligibility or other issues, and music workers who have been able to access Government benefits but are still facing financial hardship. Applications are ongoing. The funding is listed on the Funding Centre here.

Western Australia

Getting the Show back on the Road grants

Getting the Show back on the Road is a shared risk program that supports a percentage of box office loss in the situation where there has been a negative impact due to covid-19 for the presentation of performing arts and live music events. Applications will be considered from performing arts organisations, live music event producers and presenters, festival organisers and commercial event companies. Applications are ongoing. The funding is listed on the Funding Centre here.

New South Wales

NSW Performing Arts Covid Support and Relaunch Packages

The aim of the NSW Performing Arts Covid Support Package is to provide urgent financial support to performing arts venues, producers and promoters impacted by the cancellation or postponement of performances resulting from the NSW Government covid-19 Public Health Orders from 26th June 2021. The funding amount per performance will be calculated using a formula of average ticket price multiplied by the number of tickets available for sale and a specified percentage.

Applications close February 14, 2022. The funding is listed on the Funding Centre here.

The aim of the NSW Performing Arts Relaunch Package is to relaunch the performing arts sector in line with the NSW Government roadmap to recovery. This package is an extension of the original Performing Arts COVID Support Package.

Applications close February 14, 2022. The funding is listed on the Funding Centre website here.

South Australia

Arts Recovery Fund

A targeted $4 million Arts Recovery Fund for South Australian artists, and arts and cultural organisations to provide short term relief, as well as support for long-term recovery in the sector.

In 2021-22, the Arts Recovery Fund will be distributed by Arts South Australia through a series of initiatives prioritising jobs in the sector, resilience and recovery pathways for arts organisations, and risk mitigation for independent artists and presenters.

New grant funding totalling $2.4 million will be made available through the following contestable grant categories:

  • Artist Employment Grants: for activity which directly employs South Australian professional practicing artists and arts workers, aligned to locally determined recovery priorities. Applications open January 17 and close February 28, 2022.
  • Practice Research and Development Grants: for practice-based research and experimentation related to making and presenting work in a living with COVID environment. Applications open January 17 and close February 28, 2022.
  • Festivals and Events Grants: to support the direct costs of employing professional artists in emerging and small scale local and regional festivals and events. Application opening date is to be confirmed, closes February 28, 2022.
  • Collaboration Grants: to support partnership opportunities and encourage strategic and innovative collaborations across the arts sector, with a focus on risk-taking, knowledge and resource sharing and new employment opportunities. (closed February 7, 2022.)

Australian Capital Territory

Support and relief after bushfires

Communities@Work are offering bushfire relief to help support those affected by the bushfire crisis. If you are currently in the ACT, have been affected by bushfires (ACT, NSW or VIC), and are experiencing hardship, get in contact with Communities@Work. The support is available on an ongoing basis. The support is listed on the Funding Centre here.


Bushfire Recovery Grants for Nature-led Community Recovery Program (NCRP)

Community groups within fire impacted areas can apply for funding through this program to design and deliver projects that benefit local wildlife and biodiversity. The total funding available for this program is $90,000. Applicants can apply for grants up to $5,000. Applications close June 1, 2022. The funding is listed on the Funding Centre website here.

Bushfire Recovery Grants for Community Facilities

Bushfire Recovery Grants for Community Facilities have been established to support local organisations to repair and improve damaged or destroyed community facilities in fire affected communities. Community groups and not-for-profit organisations will be able to apply for grants up to $50,000. Applications close 30 June, 2022. The funding is listed on the Funding Centre here.


Reduced reporting requirements for charities in Victoria

Charities registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) are no longer required to apply for fundraiser registration; renew their fundraiser registration; or lodge an annual statement with Consumer Affairs Victoria. To benefit from the reduced reporting requirements, your organisation will need to notify Consumer Affairs Victoria of your charity registration with the ACNC via myCAV. Fundraisers that are registered charities still have ongoing responsibilities to Consumer Affairs Victoria and the public. For more information, see Charities information.

Note: Many local councils are supporting their community groups through a range of measures including rent payment deferrals and rebates, fee waiver of some services, adapting grant funding rounds to suit current needs, paying outstanding invoices in shorter turnaround periods, etc. Contact your local council to find out what support may be available.


Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR) grants variations policy

The Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR) has a grants variations policy to respond to special circumstances such as the covid-19 outbreak. If something has changed in your community, they are encouraging grantees to get in touch with them. Visit the FRRR website for more information on how to get in touch.

New South Wales

Covid-19 Cross Border Sport Fund

Up to $50,000 will be available under the Cross Border Sport Fund. Eligible applicants will receive up to $1,000 (excl. GST) to provide financial support to the sport sector of NSW to assist in recovery from the impacts of COVID-19 and in recommencing community sport activities. Applications close February 28, 2022. The funding is listed on the Funding Centre website here.

CommBank Emergency Assistance support

CommBank's Emergency Assistance is for personal and business customers affected by unforeseen and disruptive risk events relating to natural disasters and pandemics. The support may include loan restructuring and waiving of selected fees and charges. CommBank encourage affected customers to call 1800 314 695 or visit any branch to discuss their individual circumstances. If you're a business customer, please call 1800 314 695 or your dedicated CommBank relationship manager. The support is listed on the Funding Centre here.

Australian banks offer COVID-19 customer relief

The Australian Banking Association has announced further support for customers affected by continuing COVID-19 lockdowns or those recovering from recent lockdowns.

The covid-19 related relief package is available to all small businesses and home loan customers impacted by current lockdowns or recovering from recent lockdowns. It will allow the ABA and participating banks to defer loan repayments and waive certain banking fees for small businesses.

Small businesses are encouraged to contact their bank to discuss the covid-19 related relief package.

More information is available on the business.gov.au website.

This page was originally posted 20 March, 2020

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