South Coast locals back concerns raised by NSW Roads Minister Andrew Constance about the flow of relief funds to fire-ravaged communities.
Batemans Bay Soldiers Club chief executive officer Paul Biddlestone, whose Malua Bay home was damaged in the conflagration, said that although government services and other assistance was being provided, it seemed that much of the support was not getting through to the people who needed it.
"People here are on their knees. [They are] living off their savings just to pay for day-to-day necessities," Mr Biddlestone said.
The club manager said government agencies had "done a great job" in providing assistance, but support was yet to reach many in great need.
"I understand that it's difficult to manage and know who's who in the zoo, but people here are on their knees," he said.
"It's not like people are going to run off and buy a flat screen TV.
"They need food, they need clothes, they need medicine.
"I don't know what is happening with the money."
Mr Biddlestone's plea came a day after Mr Constance lashed charities including the Red Cross, the Salvation Army and St Vincent de Paul for taking too long to distribute millions of dollars donated for bushfire relief.
"The money is needed now, not sitting in a Red Cross bank account earning interest so they can map out their next three years and do their marketing," Mr Constance said.
"We need a very real change, very quickly so that the money can get to those who need it most ... people are on their knees and we can't have a drip-feed."
Donations to the charities for bushfire recovery have so far reached almost $170 million, but less than a quarter has been handed out to survivors.
Australian Red Cross said that it was handing out $1 million a day to individuals and communities.
Red Cross director of Australian programs Noel Clement said that as at Wednesday, 559 emergency grants worth $10,000 each had been paid out to those whose homes had been destroyed, and hundreds more payments were being finalised, including $20,000 bereavement grants for next of kin.
"This is just the start. As we get clear on what people need and what others are providing, we are committed to providing more support. We are working on this daily," Mr Clement said.
Red Cross has engaged four emergency relief experts to bolster its efforts to get help to where it is needed.
One of the issues facing charities is the flow of funds.
The Salvation Army said it had received $11 million out of $43 million pledged to its bushfire relief appeal. Of the money that has been received so far, $8.4 million had been distributed.
In addition, Salvation Army Emergency Services has been providing services and support to bushfire survivors and emergency workers, including serving 225,000 meals and 115,000 light refreshment packs.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the federal and state governments were working closely with the charities to facilitate the flow of funds to those in need.
Mr Morrison said the Commonwealth had already distributed around $60 million to about 50,000 people in bushfire-affected communities, and was sharing its database with charitable groups.
"It is very important that the funds that have been raised by charitable groups, through the generosity of Australians, obviously get to people as quickly as it possibly can." Mr Morrison said. "We are working with the state governments to assist the charities to do just that."
Mr Clement said the Red Cross was "100 per cent committed" to making access to funds as easy as possible, but checking applications had been complicated for many people because their documents had been destroyed.
He said no more than 10 per cent of donations would be spent on administration, and a proportion of funds would be held back to support longer-term recovery efforts.
"We need to retain some funds for a minimum three year recovery program in affected communities, so when the world's attention turns away and the story moves on locals don't feel left behind," he said. "We have committed to staying in these communities, working with them once their needs become clearer."