The fundamental needs of survivors of an emergency are for food, shelter, clothing, information, advice, guidance and financial support. The delivery of these basic welfare needs is the responsibility of the Department of Community Services (as outlined in the State Disaster Plan (DISPLAN)).

In NSW the lead voluntary organisations for the delivery of these services are the Salvation Army, ADRA Australia, St Vincent de Paul Society and the Red Cross. However, these organisations in their local communities may not always have the resources to provide the service, requiring the task to be undertaken by an alternate agency.

In minor incidents, (and those not requiring the activation of a DISPLAN), the Department of Community Services coordinates and directly provides the essential welfare services (as listed above) to persons affected by the disaster. In major incidents, participating and supporting organisations may be requested to support the role of the Disaster Welfare Manager (Department of Community Services).

Below is a listing of services provided during a disaster and the agency partners who coordinate that activity.



Responsibility of Department of Community Services

The Department of Community Services is responsible for establishment and administration of evacuation centres, temporary accommodation centres, and disaster relief / recovery centres.

This task includes the development and maintenance of a register of people seeking assistance and ensuring that the required services are delivered in an efficient and effective manner.



Responsibility of Department of Community Services

The Department of Community Services is responsible for the provision of emergency cash to people affected and for financial assistance to enable them to re-establish homes to basic standard.



Participating Organisation - Red Cross

The provision of personal support and welfare information is a task involving both Governement and non-Government of the Welfare Centres.

The task involves evacuation centres providing care and comfort to those affected and for assistance to people requiring emergency / disaster welfare information (including availability of community resources, tracing of relatives and facilitating contact with other sources of help).



Participating Organisation - ADRA Australia

Emergency accommodation is the provision of temporary shelter/accommodation (usually in motels/hotels) for people rendered homeless by a disaster.

The Emergency Accommodation Service provides a resource list of available emergency accommodation and venues available for welfare centres. During an emergency the Emergency Accomodation Service is also responsible for the allocation of displaced people to temporary accommodation. Long term accommodation needs are met by the Department of Housing.



Participating Organisation - Salvation Army

The Emergency Catering Service provides food and refreshment on site and in the centres.

The task is to provide an emergency catering service for the homeless, evacuees and casualties. In addition, the Welfare Catering Services provides meals for volunteer rescue/recovery workers and, in special circumstances, (with the approval of their employer), meals for paid emergency workers.



Participating Organisation - St Vincent de Paul

The provision of essential personal clothing, furniture and personal requisites is required to assist people affected.

The task is to issue vouchers for / provide clothing, general furniture, blankets, baby layettes, towels, toiletry packs, footwear, mattresses, pillows and bedding to people affected by the disaster.

This task area is responsible for acquisition, reception, storage, issue and disposal of material goods as required.


Source: Department of Community Services, Disaster Welfare Recovery Centre - Pamphlet No. l Participating Organisations



  • Centre Manager - Department of Community Services 
  • Administration Staff  - Department of Community Services
  • Financial Assistance - Department of Community Services, Department of Social Services
  • Insurance/Advocacy - Insurance Council of Australia, Department of Community Services
  • Long Term Accommodation - Department of Housing
  • Rent Assistance - Department of Housing
  • General Welfare Information - Centre Staff & Personal Support Team
  • Registration for Disaster Relief/Registration of Claims for Assistance - Department of Community Services
  • Medical & Mental Health Services - Department of Health
  • Clean Up & Rubbish Removal - Community Groups
  • Interpreter Service - Ethnic Affairs Commission
  • Emergency Clothing - St Vincent de Paul Society
  • Emergency Accommodation - ADRA (Adventist Development and Relief Agency) Australia
  • Refreshment / Food - Salvation Army
  • Victim Reception Care & Comfort - Personal Support
  • Disaster Victim Registration - Police / Red Cross
  • Disaster Victim Enquiry - Police / Red Cross
  • Pet Rescue & Accommodation
  • Child Care - Red Cross
  • Personal Support - Red Cross