Working Paper

Keeping up with the best: A review of emergency relief delivery practices in Australia

Published: 2023

In Australia, emergency relief is one part of a broader system of social assistance and welfare that supports those who experience a financial crisis. This study aims to understand the best practices in emergency relief service delivery in Australia.

The review of emergency relief delivery models and practices underscores the problem of not having a complete operational picture of the delivery practices of different emergency relief providers and a lack of data on evaluation of existing delivery models. We therefore adopt the OECD Serving Citizens Framework as a theoretical lens to make sense of the varied and multifaceted emergency relief space in Australia. In all, our review reveals diverse models of emergency relief service delivery although providing referrals is one of the most common practices of emergency relief providers in Australia.

Good delivery systems are critical for public service delivery programs and emergency relief provision is no different. By employing the OECD Serving Citizens Framework, we identify integration of services, partnerships and collaborations between community organisations and quality of engagement with volunteers as key drivers of improvement in emergency relief provision.


Nathan MiddlebrookNikita Sharma


Sharma, N., & Middlebrook, N. (2023). ‘Keeping up with the best: A review of emergency relief delivery practices in Australia’, Life Course Centre Working Paper Series, 2023-23. Institute for Social Science Research, The University of Queensland.