Support and Assistance in the Australian Bushfires

The FSU sends support to members, their families and communities who have been impacted by the bushfires raging across the country.

Our sincere thanks and good wishes go to everyone involved in the firefighting and recovery effort. We have all seen so many examples of compassion and generosity from the Australian community in response to this crisis.

If you are in a fire affected area and need assistance or advocacy, your union has many ways to help.

How the FSU can help if you are directly impacted by the fires

If you have been directly impacted by the fires and are suffering financially, the FSU can waive your union fees at this difficult time. You can contact us on 1300 366 378 or email if you’d like to apply for a waiver.

If you are working as a volunteer for one of our emergency agencies in the firefighting or recovery effort, or are directly impacted by the fires, and are having trouble accessing paid leave or other workplace entitlements, please let the FSU know and we’ll assist you – call us on 1300 366 378 or email us to let us know how we can help.

Union members and retired members who are experiencing hardship as a result of the fires can apply for short term financial assistance from the ACTU Bushfire Fund. If you have lost or suffered damage to your home, or you’re experiencing severe financial hardship as a result of the fires, or if you’ve lost your usual mode of transport to work, you can apply for a grant from this fund. All applications will go through the FSU – please contact us as soon as possible if you (or an FSU member you know) would like to apply. You can call 1300 366 378 or email

Working through the bushfire recovery effort

FSU members, particularly in insurance and banking, will be playing a crucial role in getting people back on their feet and supporting impacted communities. We know that this additional work might be incredibly stressful – if you find yourself needing additional advice or support at work, particularly when it comes to managing workloads and reasonable overtimes, contact us on 1300 366 378 or email

How you can help communities affected by the bushfires

The ACTU Bushfire Fund has been established to provide short term financial assistance to union members and retired members affected by the 2019-20 bushfires; donations to the ACTU appeal are NOT tax deductible. Every cent donated will be spent on supporting union members in affected communities. To donate follow this link:

The Red Cross is on the ground, supporting people in evacuation centres and recovery hubs across Australia. You can donate here:

To support our firefighters, donate here:

Support Resources for Westpac Group Employees:

This is a summary of support available to full time and part time employees at Westpac Group as part of their Bushfire Recovery Support Package:

  • Defence Reserves Leave – Uncapped paid leave for Reservists for duration of call out associated with Operation BUSHFIRE ASSIST 2019-2020
  • Emergency Services Leave – Uncapped paid leave for volunteers with recognised emergency management bodies (e.g. Country Fire Authority, Rural Fire Service, State Emergency Service etc.) required to help deal with emergencies / natural disasters.  This leave includes reasonable travel time associated with the activity and reasonable rest time after the activity
  • Community volunteering – 3 days paid leave for volunteering activities associated with the bushfire crisis and recovery efforts
  •  Special Paid Leave – Special paid leave for employees who are unable to attend work due to the bushfires
  • Westpac Bushfire Fund: Employees whose properties have been destroyed or damaged can access grants of up to $2,000 to help cover temporary accommodation, food and clothing. Contact the Employee Assist team on 1800 804 371 for more information
  • Employee Assistance Foundation: The Employee Assistance Foundation (EAF) can help provide up to $5,000 for emergency relief (contact HR Service Centre on 1800 655 592 for more information)
  • Counselling: If employees (or their family members) need support coping with the current situation, emergency counselling is available through ACCESS (1800 626 619)


Support Resources for ANZ Employees:

  • Employees who are directly impacted by the fires are able to access paid special leave under our Special Leave Policy. While there is an initial grant of up to 10 days, this can be extended depending on the employee’s particular circumstances.
  • There are a number of paid leave options for employees who are volunteer firefighters or emergency services volunteers and who have taken time away from work to contribute to the volunteer effort. They are eligible for up to five days paid community service leave under the Community Emergency Service Leave Policy and when that benefit is exhausted, special paid leave is available under our Special Leave Policy. Employees who would like to volunteer for other bushfire response activities can also use their one day of paid volunteer leave per year.
  • ANZ is also 1:1 matching employee donations to any volunteer fire service in Australia this summer (up to 29 February 2020) when employees submit a copy of their donation receipt to They can also donate by payroll through PeopleSoft to our Workplace Giving charities including The Australian Red Cross, Foodbank Australia and WWF Australia. Donations made through payroll get double matched by ANZ – effectively tripling the donation amount the charity will receive.