Information for businesses

Using laptop

Small Business Development Corporation

In response to the Wooroloo bushfires, the Small Business Development Corporation (SBDC) is prepared to provide assistance to affected businesses within the region.

This support may include but is not limited to:

  • On the ground business advisory support to assist impacted businesses to address any insurance or business interruption matters as a result of the bushfire; and
  • A dedicated dispute resolution case manager to assist with any potential business to business disputes arising as a result of the bushfires.

The SBDC has undertaken a preliminary scan of the localities which were included in emergency warnings for the Wooroloo bushfires to ascertain the potential number of businesses within the region.

Using the Australian Business Register data and correlating that with known impacted bushfire areas within the City of Swan and Shire of Mundaring, there is approximately 1600 active business registrations, which also includes some not for profit registrations. A significant number of these are sole traders.

Contact the Small Business Development Corporation website or call 133 140 if you require assistance. 

Interest rate subsidy

Small businesses and primary producers may be eligible for an interest rate subsidy for new loans to repair/replace assets that have been damaged or destroyed as a direct result of an eligible disaster, and for which this DRFAWA assistance measure has been activated. 

Find more information on the DFES website

 

Water Corporation

If you are a residential or business customer impacted by the Wooroloo bushfire, Water Corporation has financial support and assistance options to help you get through this difficult time. Information follows and can be found on the Water Corporation website. 

Support for customers who have lost their property

Customers who have lost their property will have their account adjusted. In addition:

  • All existing charges will be waived
  • All new service charges will be waived until February 2022
  • No cost for the replacement of your fire-damaged water meter
  • Building application fees and water service disconnection or reconnection fees will be waived.

Customers in the red zone area

If your property was in the red zone area during the fire, you will automatically receive a 20kL allowance on your water use. You don't have to do anything as we've applied these measures automatically.

Support for customers with property fire damage

If you have experienced property damage as a result of the bushfire, an allowance of up to 50kL on your water use will be granted (pending individual circumstances). You will not incur any costs for replacing a fire-damaged water meter.

Flexible payment options and payment assistance, such as putting your account on hold through our Time Assist program, is also available.

Allowance for customers who defended their property

If you defended your property during the bushfire, you’re eligible to receive an allowance of up to 50kL for water used to defend your property, pending individual circumstances.

Assistance with property repairs

Any fire-damaged water meters will be repaired at no cost to you. You’re also eligible to receive up to 20kL allowance on your water use (pending individual circumstances), to help with the recovery and clean up.

Allowance for businesses providing temporary housing for evacuees

If your business provided free accommodation for bushfire evacuees, you’re entitled to receive up to 20kL allowance on your water use.

For businesses who assisted with the temporary arrangements for the agistment of livestock and horses or who’s water use is negatively impacted in some other way due to the fire should contact us on 13 13 85, and we will consider assistance on a case-by-case basis.

Additional requests for financial support

Any requests for higher allowance will be considered on a case-by-case basis. If at any time you’re having trouble paying your bills, we have various flexible payment arrangements to help make your payments easier.

How to apply

To apply for a water use allowance, please call Water Corporation on 13 13 85.

Western Power

View the latest power outage information, including which areas have been restored and which areas are next, on the Western Power website. 

Fees waived  

In support of Western Australians affected by the recent Wooroloo bushfire, Western Power is waiving fees related to network connections and reconnections for residents whose properties were impacted by the bushfire.   

For residents whose property has been destroyed by the fire, they will be waiving the cost of establishing a temporary builder supply (if required), which can be up to $555. Where property or network connections have been damaged but not destroyed by the fire, reconnecting existing customers’ points and replacing meters will be free of charge as per our normal practice.   

Reconnecting properties

Before power can be restored to your property, the WA Electrical Inspectors need to assess any damage to the property’s switchboard and anything visible outside of the house which could pose a safety concern when the property is reconnected.

When property owners return to their homes, they need to look for a tag or notification on the status of their electricity supply.

  1. If there is a tag that says `Temporary disconnection’, the property owner or other person in charge must arrange for an electrical contractor to complete the required works. Once all defects outlined on the tag have been rectified your supply can be reconnected.
  2. If there is a tag that says `Information|Caution’, your connection can be reconnected to the network when power’s been restored. Once connected, you can flick your main switch to ‘On’.

If you are unsure whether your property has been inspected by a WA Electrical Inspector, please call 13 10 87 between 8.30am and 5pm. 

If you’re unsure what electrical infrastructure you’re responsible for on your property, visit Building and Energy website’s ‘Private power poles and lines are your responsibility’ page and also Western Power's private power poles and cables page.

Western Power advises property owners to be careful of hazards when they return to their properties and to please not touch any Western Power assets, including poles, even if they have been made safe. Stay eight metres away from any fallen power lines or other damage to the network.   

For extra precaution, when `network power’ has been restored, the Electrical Inspector advises that you conduct a visual safety check on all external electrical equipment (bore pumps, power points, external ground lighting) within your property prior to turning on. If you find any damaged electrical equipment you must contact an electrical contractor to have the problem rectified.

Power fluctuations may occur when power is restored, so it’s helpful to unplug sensitive appliances prior to reconnecting. When reconnected, turn on appliances progressively, starting with lights and small appliances. If you experience any shocks, zaps or tingles report them immediately on 13 13 51.

Find more information on the Western Power website.

Telstra

Telstra's restoration program

  • Telstra has completed the scoping activity to restore services across the fire zone.
  • Five teams have been working to scope damage since being granted access to the fire ground by emergency services. The teams have also undertaken immediate restoration work where possible.
  • In total, there are 195 customer affected services across the fire zone. Our local teams have begun remediation work with some services restored and more being restored soon. 
  • At this stage more than 6km of cable is required to replace the aerial and underground network in the fire zone. In addition there are 36 poles, 33 pits and 60 joints to be installed and repaired.
  • The restoration program means that Telstra will have restored cable to the customer’s properties with customers then able to assess the reconnection of their services to their residences.
  • Our biggest challenge involves the aerial cable replacement and installing the new poles. We are working with our industry partners to expediate these activities.
  • We continue to work with our customers through the disaster relief package which provides a range of offers to help people reconnect.
  • The teams are currently working on restoration of services in Gidgegannup at the following locations:
    • Bailup Road
    • O’Brien Road
    • Reen Road
    • Reserve Road
    • Old Coach Road East
    • Tilden Drive

Telstra Assistance package

Telstra has announced an assistance package for its residential and small business customers who have lost services due to the major fires that first started in Wooroloo.

Telstra Regional General Manager Boyd Brown said the package which includes mobile call diversion, a boost to data and free calls as well as reconnection support would be extended to those based in Gidgegannup, Herne Hill, Upper Swan, Red Hill, Ellenbrook, Bullsbrook, Wundowie, Parkerville and Red Hill.

Mr Brown said the major fires had impacted Telstra’s mobile, landline and internet services and technicians were currently working closely with emergency services trying to reconnect these communications when safe to do so. 

“We know this is an extremely challenging time for everyone in the community and it’s vital for people to be able to stay in touch with family and friends,” he said

“Our techs are working hard to get these impacted services back online as soon as they can and I am pleased to say several mobile sites have now been provided with gensets and are up and running.”

Mr Brown said Telstra was providing access to free calls and free Telstra Air Wi-Fi through local payphones for everyone in the affected area.

“We hope this will help to keep people connected and enable locals to ensure families and friends can be kept up to date on any needs for assistance.”

Telstra customers may be eligible for additional help through this assistance package. Mr Brown said customers who have been displaced from their home or business during this disaster are able to access additional help including call diversion options and once off data/free call top ups.

For customers who have been displaced from their residence or business during a natural disaster event, short-term assistance can include:

  • Calls diverted from a fixed line service to another number while you're displaced from your residence or business (to Australian numbers only)
  • 25GB data pack for post-paid mobile customers (applies for the remainder of your current billing cycle, please contact us should you require further data)
  • 25GB prepaid data and free calls (30-day expiry, not transferrable to another service)

There may also be longer term assistance available for Telstra customers who have suffered severe damage to or loss of their premises and require longer term assistance.

The long-term assistance package includes:

  • Free call diversion from the customer’s Telstra fixed phone service to another Australian fixed or mobile service of their choice, regardless of the carrier.
  • Telstra to cover up to $500 for the connection of a Telstra fixed phone service at one temporary residence; or Re-connection of a Telstra fixed phone service at the customer’s original permanent premises

Please call 1800 888 888, enter your phone or mobile number and talk to our teams to find out how we can help.

Insurance

Claims: The Insurance Council of Australia have declared the Perth Hills Bushfires a catastrophe.

This means claims from these bushfires will be prioritised by insurers, and they will be focusing on reducing the immense emotional and financial stress experienced by residents and businesses. You can find out more by reading the announcement

Accommodation: If your home is insured, call your insurance company as you may be covered for emergency accommodation through your policy.

Other options are to contact:

Counselling and support

Traumatic experiences - like being involved in a fire - can be sudden and overwhelming. It’s normal to feel unsettled and disrupted for a while.

 You may feel depressed, anxious, sad, angry or exhausted. You might find it hard to sleep, concentrate or remember details. Be aware that you have been through an extremely stressful event and give yourself permission to feel bad.

Children can also be stressed after a fire. Looking out for your child’s response to these events can help you to support them to cope with their feelings, thoughts and behaviours.

Looking after yourself

  • Focus on making daily decisions and actions, to start feeling in control of your life again
  • Make time for rest, even if you can’t sleep
  • Try to eat regular, healthy meals and drink lots of water
  • Keep a daily routine – include work, relaxation, exercise and something you enjoy
  • Spend time talking or just being with people you care about
  • Get involved in community activities
  • Avoid making major life decisions too quickly
  • Avoid using alcohol or drugs to cope, it will create more problems in the long term
  • Avoid stimulants such as tea, coffee, caffeinated drinks and cigarettes

Supporting children and young people

  • Explain to them that it’s okay to worry when facing challenges and uncertainty
  • Listen to them actively
  • Answer their questions as best you can with factual information
  • Limit their exposure to news and social media
  • Keep their routine predictable
  • Maintain links with your child’s school
  • Model the behaviour you’d like them to have including staying calm

When to get help

Most people will recover over time with the support of family and friends. Sometimes however, distressing events can be hard to overcome. After a crisis it can help to talk to someone who isn’t involved and is trained to listen. Think about seeking professional help if you:

  • Continue to experience strong reactions more than two weeks after the fire
  • Feel very distressed, frightened, irritable or jumpy a lot of the time
  • Can’t carry out your normal roles at work, school or with your family
  • Feel hopeless, despairing and think you cannot go on
  • Are thinking of harming yourself or someone else

Your community and local professionals will want to support you.

Where to get help

Your GP is a good place to start, and they can also refer you to other services. Call first if you’re unsure whether they are open. You can also check to see if it is possible to have a telehealth appointment. Pharmacies may be able to assist with filling essential prescriptions.

You can ask the team at our Bushfire Recovery Centre how to access psychological support. If you are worried about your child, please contact your school to discuss support available.

If it is a life threatening emergency, call 000 or visit your nearest emergency department.

  • Lifeline’s Bushfire Recovery Phoneline 13 HELP (13 43 57) is also available for anyone impacted by fires, no matter how you’re struggling
  • In a crisis, call Lifeline on 13 11 14
  • Kids Help Line: 1800 551 800
  • Beyondblue provides free counselling and support via 1300 22 4636 and online chat and forums at beyondblue.org.au
  • If you’re worried about alcohol or other drug use, call the Alcohol and Drug Support Line on 08 9442 5000 or 1800 198 024 (country toll free)
  • For other types of crisis - like concern about a child’s safety, or if you have lost your home and have nowhere to stay, call the Department of Communities Crisis Care line on 08 9223 1111

Midland Women's Health Care Place

Midland Women's Health Care Place have counsellors on standby to assist women impacted by the bushfires.

The team also have partnered with Foodbank WA to support individuals and families impacted by the Wooroloo bushfire disaster. MWHCP can complete the assessment and provide the approval letter for bushfire victims to access Foodbank for three months, where food and groceries will be available free of charge

Please call MWHCP on (08) 9250 2221 for assistance.

Information for after a disaster

For community organisations, Emerging Minds Community Trauma Tookit is a great resource. 

Please remember you aren't in this alone. Talk to someone you trust, limit the amount of media you're watching if you can and adjust your lifestyle to suit your needs right now. Take extra care of yourself.

Financial support

Find information about financial support available.