2023 Kempsey bushfires FAQ

Published on 22 October 2023

2023 Bushfires FAQ

Our staff are working tirelessly to provide help to our community in this disaster. This list is under regular review, please check back.


What roads are closed?

During fires the New South Wales Rural Fire Service (RFS) is the 'lead agency', meaning they are the key group deciding road closures.

The best source of up to date information on road closures and re-openings is the Live Traffic site.


Will my bins still be collected?

While most roads are open there will be minimal disruptions to usual bin services.

Where roads are closed to residents only with traffic control in place, we believe our bin collection contractors are able to get through.

If your bin has not been collected at the usual time please call our Waste Hotline on 1300 342 207.

If my bin was damaged in the fire, do I need to get a report number from the police to get a replacement?

No, you do not need a police number.

If your bin has been damaged please call our Waste Hotline on 1300 342 207.

(For residents whose bin is damaged or stolen in normal circumstances, please get an event number from police before requesting a replacement bin).


The RFS have used my water reserves to fight the fire, can I get a rebate to pay for a refill?

The RFS have provided information on this with their Firefighting and Water Replacement fact sheet.

"Water replacement may be provided during or after a bush fire emergency to livestock owners, and agricultural growers who meet the eligibility criteria below:

  • water was taken to suppress a fire, or landowner has experienced an infrastructure failure as a result of a bush fire
  • the water taken significantly impacts the landowner’s ability to ensure sufficient water for livestock and agricultural purposes (e.g. vineyards, horticulture)."

Affected landowners should contact the NSW Department of Primary Industries (www.dpi.nsw.gov.au) or Local Lands Services (www.lls.nsw.gov.au) in their region for further advice.

As we are in water restrictions, will I be fined for using water to fight fires at my property?

No, if you are in a fire zone, we will no be issuing fines.

Bushfire damage

For residents affected by damage following the bushfires please use the following contact numbers:

Department of Community and Justice

For immediate relief, generally for the first few days following an event.

camilla.macintosh@dcj.nsw.gov.au or phone 0419 617 337 in regards to

Service NSW

For ongoing recovery assistance, Service NSW assist with assessing eligibility for disaster relief grants.

Use the Service NSW app, call 137788 or head to www.service.nsw.gov.au/transaction/apply-for-the-disaster-relief-grant

NSW Reconstruction Authority

For further information on disaster relief grants.

For information on submitted applications call 02 9212 9200 option 3 for direct assistance.

For all enquiries head to www.nsw.gov.au/departments-and-agencies/nsw-reconstruction-authority/disaster-funding/disaster-relief-grant-for-individuals

Property and animal support

Is there a Bushfire Recovery Centre at Hat Head?

Face-to-face bushfire recovery support and services will be available at the Hat Head Community Centre, 53 Straight Street Hat Head. Assistance includes financial assistance, mental health and wellbeing services as well as support for businesses.

How can I get support for fire-affected properties?

Recovery following bushfire may be a long process.NSW Local Land Services provides support for land managers to assist in the recovery of their property following a bushfire.

Where can I get fodder?

Need for Feed has provided some feed assistance already.

Fire-impacted residents are invited to register for future feed runs of emergency feed through the Need for Feed website

If you would like to learn more about the organisation, please head to Need for Feed a project of Lions Clubs.

The NSW Local Land Services also has support for land managers calculating feed requirements.

Mental health

The emotional impact of a natural disaster can continue long after the event has passed and may affect us in many different ways.

Mid North Coast Health

The Mid North Coast Local Health District team can support yours or your family and friends' mental health and wellbeing and the journey to recovery. You do not have to be affected by financial loss to access their free support.

Please contact Disaster Recovery Intake

Call: 0498 470 435

Email: MNCLHD-DisasterRecovery@health.nsw.gov.au

They can see you by appointment at your home or even at a local cafe.

Farmgate Wellbeing Service

The Farmgate Wellbeing Service provides free emotional and mental health support to people living and working in ruraland remote communities throughout the Mid North Coast Local Health District. 

Call: 0498 470 435 
Monday to Friday 8am – 4.30pm

Email: MNCLHD-DisasterRecovery@health.nsw.gov.au

For immediate support

  • 24-hour Mental Health Access Line 1800 011 511
  • Lifeline 13 11 14 
  • Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636
  • Kids Helpline (ages 12-25) 1800 55 1800


How can I make a donation?

Please do not make unrequested donations to fire-affected zones. Not only is it dangerous to enter an emergency zone, unrequested and unwanted donations can cause tremendous harm to communities, who have no capacity to store or distribute the items they receive. 

Council and other government agencies recommend the use of GIVIT.

The role of GIVIT is to support local charities, community groups and councils by helping them obtain exactly what is needed to assist those impacted.

To see what is needed or to donate, please visit www.givit.org.au/nsw-bushfires-2023

How can I get donation assistance?

If you are an organisation impacted by the emergency and require access to donated goods and services for your service or for residents, please register for the free service via GIVIT’s website givit.org.au.

To find out which registered organisations can help with hosting requests for support, impacted individuals can visit https://www.givit.org.au/need-help and search by suburb.


What if was asbestos in a fire-damaged structure?

Asbestos dust and fibres have the potential to present a health risk during and after a fire if not properly managed.

If you are concerned about asbestos head to the Asbestos and Bushfires page at Asbestos Awareness.