If you are in an area affected by flooding, please listen to the instructions given by emergency services personnel. Important messages are often played on your local ABC radio

For non-life threatening flood and storm emergency assistance during severe weather events, you can contact your state emergency services from anywhere in New South Wales or Queensland:

If the situation is life threatening, always call Triple Zero (000).

Please be aware that demand on SES during a severe weather event is huge and can lead to long wait times when calling for assistance.

Health supports for flood-affected Australians

This factsheet outlines how the Australian Government is supporting flood-affected communities.

Medical treatment or advice

If your GP or Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service (ACCHS) is closed, evacuation centres have staff who can help you to make a walk-in or telehealth (phone or video) appointments.

If you're not at an evacuation centre, contact Healthdirect, free of charge, to find available GPs in your area.

Visit the Healthdirect website or call the health advice line on 1800 022 222, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

If you’re located in the Lismore area, a number of medical practices and pharmacies are closed and may not be able to operate for the short to medium term. The Australian Government is providing locum support to ensure continuity of access to healthcare for everyone who needs it. Contact your regular GP or pharmacy in the first instance, or for information about GPs or pharmacies in your area, contact Healthdirect. For more local health service information about the Lismore region, contact the North Coast PHN.

Telehealth exemption

An exemption has been made so you don't have to have an existing relationship with a GP to access MBS-subsidised telehealth services (video and phone).

All Medicare eligible Australians in flood affected areas can make telehealth appointments with their GP, or another GP. 

The exemption applies to areas that have been declared a natural disaster and for the duration of that declaration.

Information on areas that have been declared a natural disaster can be found on the Disaster Assist website.

Find out more about telehealth and Medicare benefits.

Prescription medicine

Pharmacists can contact your doctor by phone to make sure you can still get the prescription medicines you need, even if your script has been lost or damaged by the floods.

In some cases, you can get the prescription medicine you need without a script.

Under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) Continued Dispensing Arrangements, a pharmacist can provide one supply of eligible medicine/s without a prescription. This can happen when there is an immediate need for the medicine, but where it is not practical to obtain a PBS prescription.

Prescriptions (scripts) and telehealth appointments

If you have a telehealth appointment and the GP writes a prescription, it can be sent online to you by SMS or email. Some GPs can also send the prescription online to your chosen pharmacy.

Mental health advice or support

Telephone and online services

If immediate help is required, you should contact:

Head to Health

Head to Health provides information, advice and links for free and low-cost phone, online and face to face mental health services and supports for people in impacted communities.  

headspace

If you’re a young person aged 12 to 25 years, or supporting a young person in a flood impacted community, you can find a list of services that are open on the headspace website.

If you’re unable to attend a headspace service, they provide free, telephone and web-based support services:

  • NSW residents can call the Mental Health Line on 1800 011 511 to access NSW-funded support services.
  • Qld residents can contact 1300 64 2255, which is a confidential mental health telephone triage service that provides the first point of contact to public mental health services for Queenslanders.

Medicare rebate for mental health services

After a stressful event such as a flood, it’s normal to feel anxious or depressed.

If you or someone you know is experiencing distress or mental health concerns, the first step is to get a mental health treatment plan from your GP. This plan identifies the mental health care you need, and outlines the goals you and your doctor want to achieve.

You will then be able to get a Medicare rebate to reduce the cost of support from your GPs and other medical practitioners such as psychologists, social workers and occupational therapists.

Find out more about the Better Access initiative.

Accessing support in aged care facilities

If you or someone you know is in a residential aged care facility (RACF) in an impacted community, more information including emergency contact numbers can be found at Service Continuity and Emergency Events in Aged Care.

To ensure appropriate support is provided as quickly as possible, all aged care providers (RACFs and in home and community aged care providers) must follow existing state and local government pathways to request help.

More information is provided in the Australian Government health support for aged care in flood affected regions fact sheet.

Financial support

There are financial supports available to those impacted by floods.

The Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment (AGDRP)

You can access information on the financial assistance available to eligible Australians adversely affected by the floods below. 

Disaster Recovery Allowance 

The Disaster Recovery Allowance (DRA) helps employees, small business owners and farmers who experience a loss of income as a direct result of a major disaster. Find out more about the DRA.

NSW disaster relief and support for small businesses

The Australian and New South Wales governments are providing financial relief and support for eligible small businesses following a natural disaster.

More information can be found on the NSW Government website.

Qld disaster relief and support for small businesses

The Australian and Queensland governments are providing financial support for South East Queensland flood affected small business.

More information can be found on the Qld Government website.

Other Australian Government support

On 9 March 2022, the Australian Government announced a $35.9 million package to ensure continuity of vital services and the provision of additional mental health support for people devastated by the east coast floods. Read more about the health package.

Primary health care

The Australian Government is supporting urgent access to, and coordination of, primary health care services, including general practice, pharmacy and mental health services as part of the immediate disaster response with a $4.7 million investment. Support is also being provided for the early re-establishment of a broader range of primary health care services, including general practice, pharmacy, allied health, mental health and dental services, where these services have been disrupted.

Primary Health Networks in significantly flood-affected regions will be funded to support their emergency response activities. In particular, the PHNs will work with primary health care providers in their regions and with relevant state and local agencies to help ensure affected communities are able to access urgent primary and mental health care services.

Mental health

The Australian Government recognises the significant impact multiple disasters, including floods, the COVID-19 pandemic and bushfires, are having on individuals, families and communities, and is providing significant investment to better support recovery from this most recent disaster.

We are investing more than $31.2 million to:

  • boost psychological services delivered by local service providers to meet anticipated increased demand
  • expedite the establishment of a Head to Health centre in Lismore, with a particular focus on trauma recovery and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) treatment to ensure there are longer term mental health support in the Lismore community
  • fund dedicated services to impacted children and young people, with a focus on working through school communities
  • provide additional support to headspace services currently impacted by the floods, including funding to rebuild or relocate headspace Lismore and provide outreach services to Ballina and surrounding regions
  • fund ACCHs to deliver culturally appropriate locally designed mental health services in impacted communities
  • increase the capability of Queensland Program of Assistance to Survivors of Torture and Trauma and the Australian Psychological Society to deploy its Disaster Response Network of over 500 trauma-trained psychologists
  • provide Wellbeing and Resilience Grants that allow communities the opportunity to choose their own way to respond to the losses, anxiety and distress they have experienced, as well as actively participate in their recovery.
Last updated: 
18 March 2022