First steps

If you or someone you know has been affected by flooding from the Northern NSW Rivers, the following useful links and phone numbers may be helpful.

Dial 000 immediately if you’re in an emergency situation right now.

For general emergency information, see Emergency NSW or contact the Office of Emergency Management on 02 9212 9200.

NSW State Emergency Services has information about protecting your family and property after a flood.

DisasterAssist is an Australian Government initiative. It has a North Coast floods page and information on natural disaster relief and recovery arrangements.

Residents should beware of travelling conmen and unlicensed traders who may target disaster affected areas, offering cheap, cash only repairs to roofs or to remove damaged trees.

Before hiring a contractor or tradesperson - no matter how small your job is - follow the steps below:

  1. Check the individual, company or partnership you engage  has a contractor licence for jobs involving:
  • residential building work where the total cost of labour and materials is more than $5,000
  • any electrical wiring work
  • any plumbing, drainage and/or gas fitting work
  • any air conditioning and/or refrigeration work (except plug in appliances)

Search for a contractor or tradesperson to check their licence or call NSW Fair Trading on 13 32 20.

  1. Check the contractor has the right safety licence - especially if your job involves asbestosdemolitionexplosivesfumigation or high risk work.
  2. Check they have the right type of insurance cover to protect you and your home if something goes wrong. The contractor must get insurance under the Home Building Compensation Fund (HBCF), if the contract price is more than $20,000.

Get three written quotes and ask the tradesperson/company where you can see examples of their work. For more information about selecting a builder, contractor or tradesperson, visit Fair Trading.

If you are a tradesperson and you have lost your SafeWork NSW licence documents in a natural disaster, you can replace them by calling 13 10 50.

Rental properties

Damage to rental properties from natural disasters can be a major issue for landlords, tenants and real estate agents. NSW Fair Trading can advise you about your rights and obligations for urgent repairs for rental properties.

You may face a variety of property hazards after storms and floods.

Asbestos

If your house was built or renovated before 1987, it probably contains asbestos. Learn about asbestos safety at work and home, how to dispose of it safely and the key facts on asbestos. Find a licensed asbestos removalist, you can also get free advice from the Asbestos Hotline on 1800 272 378.

For fact sheets, checklists, frequently asked questions and more, visit Asbestos Awareness.

Demolition

Demolition work is potentially dangerous. Find out when you’re required by law to notify SafeWork NSW about demolition work and when you need to get a demolition licence. Use the asbestos and demolition checklist (PDF) to ensure your worksite meets safety standards.

Waste

Please manage waste at home properly and if you need to remove, trim or prune trees, get a professional. Use the SafeWork NSW checklist for hiring tree work contractors.

If you have house insurance contact your insurer before you engage contractors to do repair work  to find out if the repairs are covered.

Get quotes for the work you need and always ask for the person’s full name and licence number

If you’re in a flood-affected area and you don’t have insurance with specific flood coverage, the Insurance Council of Australia advises you to still make a claim, as your repairs may be covered under other provisions.

If you’re not sure who your insurer is, encounter problems with your insurer or have general questions about the claims process, call the Catastrophe Event Insurance Hotline on 1800 734 621.

The Financial Ombudsman Service has a fact sheet about flood and storm insurance claims (PDF).

The Financial Rights Legal Centre has factsheets on flood insurance guide (PDF) and what to do if your home or contents insurance claim is refused.

The Natural Disaster Relief Scheme helps communities and individuals directly affected by flood or any other declared natural disaster. To apply for a concessional loan, grant or freight subsidy, contact the NSW Rural Assistance Authority on 1800 678 593.

Disaster Welfare Services provides support to people who have been impacted by disasters such as floods, storms, bushfires and other emergencies. Contact the Disaster Welfare Assistance Line on 1800 018 444.

Legal Aid NSW can provide free legal advice and minor assistance to people affected by disasters on a range of issues including insurance, tenancy and credit and debt problems. Call LawAccess NSW on 1300 888 529.