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Bushfire Response

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Bushfire Response

Our PHN recognises the current bushfire crisis in Australia, including bushfires that occurred in the Darling Downs and West Moreton region in late 2019, which continues to have a significant impact on communities directly and indirectly.

This page is designed to assist health professionals to link patients in with appropriate mental health services.

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Available services - Darling Downs and West Moreton

Through the Australian Government Supporting the Mental Health of Australians Affected by Bushfire measure, our PHN has expanded eligibility requirements for Targeted Psychological Therapies to include individuals experiencing distress and trauma due to bushfires in Australia. This will provide up to 10 counselling sessions from 17 January 2020 until December 2021.

A Mental Health Treatment plan is not required to access these 10 sessions and referrals can be made through a GP or as a self-referral.

Eligibility requirements for Low Intensity programs and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health services have also been expanded.

To find providers in your region, click on the links below:

To make a referral to one of these services, use our e-referral portal, refeRHEALTH.
*refeRHEALTH will be updated to reflect additions to include the bushfire recovery eligibility criteria.

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Medicare Bushfire Recovery Intiative

Individuals, families and emergency response personnel affected by the bushfires are eligible to receive Medicare rebates for up to 10 psychological therapy sessions through GPs, psychologists and other mental health professionals through the Medicare Bushfire Recovery Initiative. Eligible patients can be referred without a Mental Health Treatment plan to ensure anyone can access these services quickly or access them at a time that suits them.

  • Patients can also self-refer
  • The new items are available to all people living in the community and there is no age restriction
  • People living in residential aged care facilities are also able to access these services
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Medicare rebates are also available to patients who cannot easily access mental health professionals in person through the Medicare Bushfire Recovery Telehealth Initiative.

The above services are available from 17 January 2020 until 31 December 2021.

The latest Medicare Item numbers can be found here and a fact sheet is available for download with MBS item number information.

Please note: Consultation fees charged by health professionals are determined by the provider or practice. Only a portion of costs are covered by Medicare unless the health professional bulk bills. The Government encourages all health professions to bulk bill Australians affected by the fires.

Additional support for your patients

Our PHN has compiled a list of resources that are available for community members, including additional nationally available services. This information can be found on our Bushfire Support page and we encourage you to direct your patients and their families to this page.

Visit the Bushfire Support page


We have compiled a list of resources to help health professionals support their patients.

Black Dog Institute

In response to bushfires, the Black Dog Institute has established:

Emerging Minds’ Community Trauma Toolkit

These materials focus on supporting children and families during and in the immediate aftermath of a disaster.

The toolkit is free and available here.

The Australian Psychological Society and the Australian Red Cross

Have available a network of APS psychologists deployed through the Red Cross to provide assistance across bushfire affected areas. Please also refer to the guide to supporting people affected by disaster at

Life in Mind – Helplines, Resources, Disaster Toolkits and Fact Sheets

Life in Mind, and the mental health sector, have developed a webpage where existing helplines, disaster toolkits, resources and information can be found in the one location. This will be updated on an ongoing basis to ensure the information remains relevant to each phase and meets community needs.

Click here to access the page

Get Support

For more information, please contact:

Trevor Stephens
Bushfire Recovery Coordinator
07 4615 0900

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On this page you'll find:

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affecting Health Care practitioners in the Darling Downs and West Moreton Regions: