Bushfire Emergency Relief Payments

Vinnies is committed to helping those affected by the bushfires as they start to rebuild their lives, homes and businesses.

As well as providing relief through the Vinnies Bushfire Appeal and our everyday community services, Vinnies is distributing Emergency Relief Fund (ERF) payments on behalf of the Australian Government.

Eligible applicants are now able to complete and submit an online form to process their request. More information about eligibility and the application form for assistance can be found here.

Vinnies NSW Community Bushfire Grants

We are now accepting applications for the Vinnies NSW Community Bushfire Grant Program, helping communities on the journey to recovery.

One-off grants of up to $20,000 are available for organisations in bushfire-affected areas, providing funding for recovery projects that benefit multiple people.

Please read the attached member briefing document for an overview of the program and the program flowchart.

Member Briefing Document

Grant Program Flowchart

What are the grants for?

Vinnies NSW Community Bushfire Grants are available to fund local projects in bushfire-affected areas, helping multiple people to recover.

So far, Vinnies has focused our relief efforts on individuals, distributing quick cash payments to more than 4,560 households across the country.

Now as we move from immediate relief into long-term recovery, we are shifting our focus from individuals to communities – helping whole towns and regions to recover.

The Black Summer bushfires affected each community differently, and we know each place’s recovery needs are different. That’s why we are handing the reins over to local organisations – because you know your community better than anyone.

Grant-funded projects will take many forms, and we are open to innovative ideas. Your community group or organisation could apply for repairs to shared facilities such as a community hall; local assistance programs for bushfire-impacted families; funding to get an impacted community service back on its feet; recreational activities to bring the community together and promote healing; or counselling and educational programs linked to the experience of the fires. These are just a few examples.

Who is eligible?

You must be a registered community group or organisation in order to apply for a Vinnies NSW Community Bushfire Grant. Your organisation must be located in Australia and be directly assisting people in an identified NSW bushfire postcode.

We especially welcome grant applicants who can demonstrate they’ll make a difference for the most at-risk and disadvantaged groups. Our priority assistance groups include Aboriginal communities, culturally and linguistically diverse residents, people with disability, and people experiencing (or at imminent risk of) homelessness.

Grants will not normally be given to organisations that have already received funding from an alternative source for the same program, unless this forms part of a wider project (particularly where local groups are working together).

For the full eligibility criteria, please see the terms and conditions.

How do community groups apply?

Applications can be accessed via the website from the 27th July 2020.


The program timeline is as follows

A copy of the application form and the relevant terms and conditions can be accessed via the links below.

Fillable application form

Terms and conditions document

An example application has been completed as a guidance of what is expected.  This can be accessed via the links below.

Example completed application form

Example submitted budget

Who can I contact if I have questions?

There is a dedicated email address where you can send all questions


You can also call Mike Riley on 0435586442 who will be managing the process

How do I become a member of the committee?

Nomination forms will be available in the week beginning the 27th July.

Frequently asked questions from Applicants

Can I apply for a grant as an individual?

We’re afraid not. During the emergency relief stage of our bushfire response, we focused on providing urgent cash payments to individuals and households affected by the fires. Now as we move into the long-term recovery phase, we are focusing on projects with community-wide benefit. This means that Vinnies NSW Community Bushfire Grants will only be awarded to registered community groups and organisations that can demonstrate their capacity to work in, with and for the community.

How many grants are available?

We are offering 115 grants in total, awarded in two stages. Grants are available at different tiers of up to $5,000; between $5,001 and $10,000; and between $10,001 and $20,000.

How will you judge grant applications?

Each application will be assessed by a committee comprising Vinnies staff and members from across the organisation. They will assess each application according to a scoring matrix, and each application will be fairly judged according to these same criteria. The committee’s decisions will be final and at their sole discretion.

If I am successful in applying for a grant, will Vinnies be involved in delivering the program/project?

No. The delivery of the program will be the responsibility of the applicant, and we do not expect Vinnies to be closely involved. However, you will be asked to participate in marketing activity relating to the grant in collaboration with Vinnies, and to provide reporting back to us on how you have used the grant funds and provided benefit to your community.

If I am unsuccessful in a grant application during Stage 1, can I apply again for Stage 2?


What are the grant application deadlines?

Applications for Stage 1 grants close on Sunday 23 August. Successful applicants can expect to be notified in early September.

Applications for Stage 2 are expected to open in mid September and will remain open for approximately four weeks.

How can I request bushfire funding or assistance in states other than NSW?

Please call us on 13 18 12.

Where can I find further information about Vinnies’ bushfire relief work?

Please visit www.vinnies.org.au/bushfire.



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