Natural disaster relief and recovery

Note: New Federal Government Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements will commence 1 November 2018. The information below is for events up until 31 October 2018. These resources are currently being updated. Information on the new funding arrangements is available at

The Department of Housing and Community Development administers grants to local government bodies for the recovery of local government assets and services after a natural disaster or emergency.

These grants are called natural disaster relief and recovery arrangements (NDRRA).

Financial assistance is subject to funding availability.

There is no longer a need for a state of emergency or state of disaster to be declared for applications for assistance to be considered.

If the Northern Territory (NT) has incurred total expenditure after a disaster or event of $240,000 or more then relief and recovery arrangements can be instigated.

Councils are encouraged to ensure they maintain all local government services where possible and this may include substantial recovery work after a natural disaster.

All claims provided to the department by councils will be considered on a case by case basis in collaboration with NT Treasury and the Federal Government.

Claims under NDRRA for relief and recovery assistance measures should NOT include betterment or improvements to existing essential public assets.

The information and supporting evidence council are required to provide must demonstrates that the restoration or replacement works to essential public assets, meet the NDRRA audit and acquittal requirements.

For relief and recovery assistance measures to be an eligible measure, they must be carried out to alleviate damage or distress arising as a direct result of a disaster. Specifically a claim for damage to the local road network, these roads must be assessed as being essential public assets.

For restoration or replacement works to essential public assets which are estimated to cost over $1million, prior approval must be sought. (Refer the essential public assets approval form).

For restoration or replacement works to essential public assets which are estimated to cost under $1million, an eligibility enquiry should be sought to determine for example if certain outstation access roads are eligible essential public assets. (Refer the eligibility enquiry form).

The Commonwealth does not issue blanket approvals for certain types of assets or certain types of expenditure, they are assessed on a case by case basis.

The audit of NDRRA expenditures on essential public assets includes:

  • Pre-disaster standard and the level of functionality or utility prior to the disaster
  • Post-disaster damage caused as a direct result of the eligible disaster, such as damage reports and photographs
  • Condition of the essential public asset once the restoration or replacement works have been completed
  • Visual data and information, such as photographs, satellite images and Google earth images (an iphone app through the Solocator application may assist as it provides a water mark, is date stamped, accommodates for additional comments and has GPS positioning stamped on the photo)
  • Asset inspection and maintenance reports and assessments conducted by suitably qualified personnel


Natural disaster emergency planning key contacts

This list has contact information for local governments about key contacts in Central Australia, Barkly, Big Rivers, Darwin/ Arafura and Arnhem Land.

Download the natural disaster emergency planning key contact list (70.7 kb).

Contact details

Phone: (08) 8999 8571

Last updated: 22 October 2018