If you’ve been affected by the 2019-20 Bushfires, there’s a range of information, services and resources available to help you look after your property and rebuild your home.

Returning to your home after a fire

Always check with emergency services that it is safe to return to your property after a bushfire.

While the fire danger may have passed, hazards may still be present such as:

  • fallen trees and other objects
  • sharp objects
  • damaged electrical wires
  • smouldering coals
  • ash
  • asbestos
  • gas cylinders
  • farm, garden and cleaning chemicals
  • dust.

To learn more about, read Bushfire recovery and your property.

After a bushfire, you will need to assess the state of your home to determine if you can move back in.

Any building work should be carried out by a licensed builder or demolition contractor. If your home contains asbestos you may need to engage a licensed asbestos removalist.

Once your home has been assessed by the builder, contact your insurance company to work out an action plan.

It is important when rebuilding that you think about how you can protect your home from fire. You need to consider the bushfire risk to your home and make building decisions that will reduce the impact of a fire. Your home is more likely to survive a bushfire if it is built to planning and construction standards.

Architectural assistance

If you lost your home due to natural disaster and were uninsured or grossly under-insured, you may be able to get free advice from a registered architect.

Depending on your specific situation, the assistance may vary from simple advice to full design and planning services.

You may also apply on behalf of a small local business or community that has lost its assets such as shops, halls, churches or theatres.

Apply for architect assistance

Rebuilding advice and support

The Department of Planning Transport and Infrastructure (DPTI) has put a range of measures in place to help streamline the rebuild process. For bushfire rebuilding, planning and building application support or advice, please contact the Planning and Building Assessment Recovery Unit.

Phone: 7109 7060
Email: dpti.bushfirerecoveryunit@sa.gov.au

Rebuilding fences

When rebuilding fences, you must consider:

Other information and resources:

Water

People who are SA Water customers

If you are experiencing mains water outages, phone the SA Water Customer Care Centre on 1300 729 283.

If your private water tank was accessed by the Country Fire Service (CFS) to assist with firefighting purposes, you can commence the process to have it replenished by filling out the CFS essential water replenishment form available on the CFS website and emailing it to CFSFirelineandwaterrequests@sa.gov.au, or by calling the CFS directly on 0438 655 061.

As an SA Water customer, you will not be charged for water used to prepare or defend properties, or for water lost through pipes damaged in the fires. If you have questions, or need support with water supply, phone SA Water on 1300 729 283.

SA Water website

Rainwater

Information on bushfires and rainwater quality

Power supply

Keep away from any electricity equipment that has been damaged during a bushfire and report it to SA Power Networks by phoning 
13 13 66.

SA Power Networks has more information on bushfires and power safety.

Gas

For natural gas supply outages contact your gas supply company and for gas leaks phone the free 24-hour gas emergency and leak reporting service on 1800 427 5325.

Telstra

Telstra - bushfire support
Phone 13 22 00 or Telstra Business on 13 2000

Anyone affected by fires, including people who have lost their houses, can register for a Telstra assistance package.
Phone 13 22 03

All outreach efforts are being made to those who have been impacted by the bushfires and requiring housing assistance.

A range of options is being explored, working closely with the community to address each household's unique needs.

If you have been impacted by the bushfires and are in need of temporary housing, please contact your Local Recovery Centre

A free home battery will be offered to South Australian households rebuilding after the 2019–20 bushfires, under an arrangement offered by the South Australian Government and local battery manufacturer, sonnen.

Under the offer, bushfire-affected households can receive a sonnen battery as part of the rebuilding of their property.

Initially this offer is for the 188 households who lost their homes, however, the Government is continuing to look at opportunities to extend this initiative to other households impacted by the 2019–20 bushfires.

To be eligible:

  • the damage must have occurred to the main residence on the property during the 2019–20 bushfires (this includes holiday homes where the property is not the householder’s principal residential address, but does not include outhouses or sheds)
  • you must be able to provide verification that your residence was damaged by the 2019–20 bushfires. You can get this by calling the State Recovery Hotline on 1800 302 787.
  • households must be willing to co-contribute to the cost of the home energy system by paying for the installation of the battery and new solar panels, if required.

How do I register my interest in getting a battery?

There are two ways to register:

  1. Wait to receive a letter of offer. The South Australian Government will notify all eligible households by writing, inviting them to take up this offer.
  2. Should you wish to register your interest now, phone the State Recovery Hotline on 1800 302 787.

FAQs

How long will this offer be available?

Given the complex nature of rebuilding after a bushfire, this offer is valid until further information about the construction schedule for eligible households is known.

However, eligible households must register their interest in receiving a battery by 30 November 2020.

How many batteries are available?

One battery per eligible residence.

Should I accept the offer even if I won’t know my rebuilding plans before the 30 November 2020 cut-off for Acceptances?

Yes. Accepting the offer does not result in an obligation to take a battery. The offer is issued on a voluntary basis. However, if households don’t provide us with an Offer Acceptance by the cut-off date, we can’t set a battery aside for them should they decide they would like to take one after the cut-off date.

What happens if I accept the offer but find the battery is no longer part of my rebuilding plans?

If for whatever reason households no-longer require the battery, all we ask is that they let us know their decision as soon as practical so we can remove them from our system and deactivate their Unique Identifier Code provided to them on receipt of their acceptance.

How long do I have to install the battery?

Eligible recipients have until 31 December 2021 to have their solar system and batteries installed. After this date, consideration for an extension will only be given on a case-by-case basis.

What is the make, model and size of the battery(s) being offered?

The battery on offer is a sonnenBatterie Eco 9.53 Hybrid Single Phase of 10kWh capacity.

Are there different battery brands and sizes available?

No.

What size of solar system is required to pair with the battery?

Households are encouraged to seek advice from a certified sonnen installer about what size system would suit their needs. A list of installers will be sent to all eligible households together with the letter of offer.

Can the batteries operate in the event of an outage?

sonnen home energy systems do have backup functionality at and additional cost to the household. Eligible households are encouraged to discuss this with a certified sonnen installer before the system is installed.

Does the battery need to be installed by a certified sonnen installer?

A certified sonnen installer must install the home energy system – this is a sonnen requirement. A list of providers will be provided along with the offer.

If I decide not to rebuild and want to live outside the bushfire-affected region, am I still eligible for a battery?

No. The battery must be installed on the bushfire-affected property.

Can I install the battery on a structure that wasn’t destroyed or damaged by the bushfire, such as a nearby shed?

Yes. Eligible households can determine the location of their battery, providing it is on the same location (NMI) of the impacted primary residence.

If I sell my bushfire-affected property, will the new owner be eligible for a battery?

No. This program is part of the 2019–20 bushfire response.

If there is another bushfire later this year or next year, and more houses are destroyed or damaged, will those households receive a free battery?

In the event of another disaster, the South Australian government will re-assess the uptake of this offer to inform future bushfire response and rebuilding efforts.

If my home was destroyed in other recent bushfires, such as the 2015 Sampson Flat or Pinery bushfires, am I eligible for a battery?

No. This program is part of the 2019–20 bushfire response.

Are batteries safe in the event of another bushfire?

Yes. sonnen battery modules have been tested and certified to IEC 62619 and UL 1973 standards and are deemed as not posing a fire hazard under AS/NZS 5139:2019. The sonnen LFP2 modules do not ‘out-gas’ in normal operation and will shut down in cases of extreme heat. In the extreme event of an actual fire this will not cause any exacerbation of the situation.