Illawarra Aboriginal Corporation

Emergency Relief

Helping the local Indigenous community through the tough times

Emergency Relief

The IAC’s Emergency Relief program provides financial assistance to local Aboriginal clients that need help with funds for food, electricity or gas, or that need help with travel costs to a funeral that is outside of the Illawarra region. We can also assist local Indigenous families with a contribution towards the costs of a funeral of a family member.

Supported By





Our Emergency Relief program is for Aboriginal persons that are 18 or older and that reside in the Wollongong, Shellharbour or Kiama Local Government Areas (LGSs). We cannot provide assistance to people outside of these LGAs as this is a stipulation of our Funding Agreement.

  • Aboriginal
  • 18 Years or over
  • Health care card or other social security identification
  • Reside in the Wollongong, Shellharbour or Kiama local government areas
  • Depends on frequency of requests for support

Making a Booking

Call Stephanie on 4228 1585 to make a booking for an Emergency Relief payment. ER payments are normally only made on Tuesdays and are limited to a set number of bookings per week.


We have a policy that Emergency Relief can only be provided once in a 6 month period. This is to ensure that all clients are able to access the limited funds that we receive from the Government for this purpose. This does not mean that you are entitled to a payment every 6 months as the program is to assist those in financial difficulty. We do not count payments for a family funeral in the 6 month exclusion period.


If we are unable to provide assistance or if we note that you are regularly requesting financial assistance we may refer you to another service or ask you to seek financial counselling to help with your budgeting skills and expenditure.

Receiving a Payment

All payments are made by:

  • Cheque from the Wollongong Cultural Centre (22 Kenny Street) and can be cashed at the Wollongong branch of Westpac
  • Coles supermarket voucher from the Wollongong Cultural Centre

Only in exceptional circumstances will we provide a relief payment to a person that is unable to attend the Cultural Centre in person.

Food Assistance

We can provide you with assistance if you are receiving Government welfare payments (eg New Start or a Pension) and you are short of funds to purchase food and other necessities. The amount available is:

Your Family group Maximum payment
Single people over 16 $30
Couples with no children $50
Single people with children $60
Families $60

You will need to provide a current Health care card or Pension card or other identification that shows the makeup of your family group. We are unable to make payments at a higher rate if your family is not listed on your current identification card.

If you receive a cheque instead of a food voucher you will need a current photo ID (such as a licence) to be able to cash a cheque at the Wollongong Westpac bank.

Assistance with Electricity and Gas bills

If you are struggling with your electricity or gas payments we can provide you with assistance. We can pay half of your gas or electricity bill up to a maximum payment of $100. For example if your bill is under $200 (say $150) we would pay half ($75). If your bill is over $200 (say $600) we would pay a maximum of $100. You can only receive food assistance or help with your gas and electricity account (not both) in one 6 month period.

You will need to provide us with your Electricity or Gas bill that shows that you are behind in your payments and that includes sufficient information for us to make a payment (eg BPAY details). We will not make payments where the bill is not in your name.

Travel to Funerals

We can provide up to $50 per vehicle for travel to funerals that are outside of the Illawarra region if you are known to be related or closely linked to the family of the deceased.

Family Funerals

We can assist with payments up to $250 for the family of a deceased person to help with the costs of a funeral or wake. The family should nominate a designated person to receive the funds and to put those funds to the funeral or wake.


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