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Bushfire response, relief and recovery FAQs

Last updated: 16/06/2020

Salvation Army disaster assistance provides support in three stages:

The first stage is emergency response during the crisis and in the immediate aftermath. Salvation Army Emergency Services (SAES) teams activate at evacuation centres to respond to needs on the ground. Meals and refreshments, care packs, bedding, referrals, counselling and financial assistance are just some of the ways we help.

The second stage is an initial assessment and provision of emergency funds.

The third stage is recovery. This is the longest stage where more financial support is provided for those who have been severely impacted by the disaster.


We are deeply concerned about the impact of COVID-19 on vulnerable people in our community and are working hard to do what we can with other available resources.

In Australia, there are strong laws that govern how donated funds can be used. These rules ensure that all charities are transparent and accountable to the Australian public.

Donations given to The Salvation Army’s November 2019 bushfire Disaster Appeal can only be used to help people impacted by the 2019-2020 fires. This is in line with our declared public intention and accountability in ensuring that money donated gets to those people and communities.


We stand by communities for the long haul.

Decades of experience in meeting personal hardship resulting from disaster has informed us that a significant portion of donated funds need to be spent in the recovery stages – that is, anywhere from the beginning of the disaster up to two to three years.

Our locally embedded Bushfire Recovery Teams (BRT) have supported those impacted by the fires during these recovery stages, and led the Salvos’ engagement with federal, state, regional and community groups.

Services provided by The Salvation Army’s Bushfire Recovery Teams included financial assistance and counselling; a dedicated telephone line where workers assessed and delivered material aid; outreach workers embedded in local communities and; caseworkers based in communities to deliver holistic assistance, including financial, emotional and psychological responses.

The Salvation Army has provided over $43 million in financial assistance through grants to over 14,000 impacted individuals and families to assist in their recovery.

Yes, the focus of The Salvation Army’s work has been to provide support to people who have lost everything, including their homes. A range of financial grants have been provided to families at various stages of re-establishing themselves on their properties and to replace lost items and furniture.


The Salvation Army received $41 million in donated funds. As of July 2021, more than $49.9 million has been distributed to over 14,000 individuals and families.

More information about how The Salvation Army help Australians, including our response to disasters and emergencies, can be found in our Impact Report.


With your help, we provided:

  • Over $49.9 million in direct financial assistance to more than 14,000 Australians affected by the bushfires
  • Support from The Salvation Army Emergency Services at over 290 locations, including evacuation, relief and recovery centres through
  • More than 250,000 meals prepared and served, and over 220,000 light refreshments for first responders and evacuees

Our SAES teams assist first responders and displaced people with food, refreshments, personal care packs and support.

The SAES is a national 24/7, state-of-readiness service. Through the 2019-20 bushfire season, the team was supported by a network of 3000 personnel, including trained volunteers, working four to eight-hour shifts on a 24-hour rotation.

  • Provided services and support at over 290 locations, including evacuation, relief and recovery centres.
  • More than 250,000 meals prepared and served, and over 220,000 light refreshments provided to first responders and evacuees.

We understand the need for accountability and are committed to transparency and reporting.

The Salvation Army will keep good faith and we will be good stewards of all that has been entrusted to us. Donated money is not for us, it’s for the benefit of those Australians who were impacted by this disaster.

While we acknowledge that donors were anxious to see all the money in action immediately, recovering from disaster is not a fast or straightforward process. We needed to ensure we had the capacity to provide support for those affected in the short-term as well as for the months and years that followed as they sought to rebuild their homes, lives and livelihoods.

To understand more about the responsibility of charities, how they are regulated and how accountability and integrity is maintained, read Bushfires generosity will not be betrayed by charities by Hon Dr Gary Johns.

All donated funds have been used to support people affected by the Black Summer bushfires of 2019-20. The Salvation Army does not draw any administration fees or put aside funds donated for other events.

No more than two per cent (most often less than this amount) of donated funds was used to cover the cost of accounting, an independent audit and reporting to the community (including donors and government).

At least 98 per cent of donated funds will provide relief and recovery for those impacted by the Black Summer fires. This includes any interest that was earned during this period.

Unfortunately, we are not able to help wildlife groups, due to our DGR status. This means we are only able to help people in need. 

Under The Salvation Army’s DGR status, financial donations cannot be used for broader community projects, such as rebuilding or repairing sporting clubs, community neighbourhood centres, wildlife recovery or environmental rehabilitation.

The Salvation Army responds to natural and man-made disasters including bushfires, floods, storm damage, earthquakes, cyclones or prolonged drought.

Donations can be made online, by calling 13 SALVOS (13 72 58) or at Salvos Stores.

You can continue to support SAES teams with an ongoing regular donation. This will allow us to be ready to act immediately when disaster strikes, and to provide long-term support to those impacted. Visit

The Salvation Army Australia acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land on which we meet and work and pay our respect to Elders past, present and future.

We value and include people of all cultures, languages, abilities, sexual orientations, gender identities, gender expressions and intersex status. We are committed to providing programs that are fully inclusive. We are committed to the safety and wellbeing of people of all ages, particularly children.

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The Salvation Army is an international movement. Our mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in his name with love and without discrimination.

13 SALVOS (13 72 58)

Gifts of $2 or more to the social work of The Salvation Army in Australia are tax deductible.Details and ABNs

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