Bushfire related staff support services

8 January 2020

A large number of people in our community have been affected by fires and smoke, so it is important that we band together as the ANU community to look after one another, be kind, respectful of how people respond and process through the impact of natural disasters and help each other through this challenging time.  

To ensure the safety of the ANU community, ANU campuses were closed from Friday 3 to Tuesday 7 January to minimise the number of people on campus as it faced the ongoing challenges of smoke and intermittent power outages. All staff will be paid as per usual arrangements and the closure does not affect planned leave. 

The Acton and Mt Stromlo campuses reopened on Wednesday 8 January.  We will continue to monitor conditions and notify staff via email, SMS, the ANUOK app, the ANU website and our social media if any further campus closures are required.

Support services

We encourage you to seek support at this time. ANU Advisers to Staff are available for ANU staff for free, confidential and professional counselling and advice.  ANU has two Advisers to Staff, Gail Frank and Maaria Haque and contact details are provided below.

Gail Frank - Ext 53616 (Tuesday, Wednesdays & Thursday)

Maaria Haque - Ext 58283 (Tuesday to Friday)

Email: staff.adviser@anu.edu.au

From Wednesday 8 January 2020, staff can drop in to see Gail and Maaria from 2pm to 4.30pm each day.  During this time, Gail and Maaria are also available to visit work areas and speak to groups of staff (as requested).  If you would like to request a work area visit or set up an appointment, please contact Gail or Maaria on Ext 53616 or Ext 58283. 

Counselling is also available for staff and family members through Assure - 1800 808 374 (this number operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week) and Relationships Australia - 02 6122 7100.  Appointments can be taken in person or over the phone.

Additional details, including responding to reactions to natural disasters and traumatic events, ideas to assist you and children to cope with these difficult circumstances, can be accessed through the following link: https://anu.edu.au/news/all-news/taking-care-of-your-health-and-wellbeing    

Accessing leave and financial assistance

If you have been directly affected by the fires, unable to return to Canberra or require extra support, or need to help family members at this time, the University will provide access to ex-gratia leave. 

Packages are available for affected staff, including short term accommodation financial assistance.  Please call 02 6125 3346 (option one) to discuss how you can access your options.

Returning to work

The Acton and Mt Stromlo campuses reopened on Wednesday 8 January 2020. 

If you have planned leave at this time, your leave will continue until your planned return to work date. 

Staff who wish to utilise leave, including annual leave, personal leave and/or carers leave should contact their supervisor.  Additional information on leave options is available by contacting HR on hrd.remuneration@anu.edu.au or (02) 6125 3346 (option one).

Staff who are volunteering with the RFS, SES and/or are a member of the Australian Defence Reserves will have access to extra leave. Staff volunteering with recovery agencies (for example Red Cross) can access leave and should contact HR on (02) 6125 3346 (option one) to discuss arrangements.

Ongoing monitoring

With bushfires and smoke having a major impact across the nation, the University strongly encourages everyone to stay up-to-date with emergency advice.   

The ACT Emergency Services Authority has asked that all people in Canberra and surrounds familiarise themselves with the ESA website at esa.act.gov.au or social media accounts and download the "Fires Near Me" app to their phone. For those outside of the ACT and surrounds, please check the relevant State emergency authority website. The ABC is the national emergency broadcaster [go to abc.net.au/news/emergency]. 

In all circumstances, please prioritise your own safety and that of your family by making sure your fire plan is up-to-date and remain aware of the danger where you are, bearing in mind circumstances can change quickly. 

Supporting the community

Many in our community have been directly affected by the fires and are facing a long recovery. We have put together some information on donating to the bushfire effort - go to: https://anu.edu.au/news/all-news/how-you-can-donate-to-bushfire-appeals