Children are still grappling with the psychological impact of the summer's bushfire crisis, a leading children's charity says.
Charities and not-for-profits fronted a parliamentary inquiry on Thursday into the response to the bushfire crisis.
Save the Children adviser Howard Choo said the needs of children were sidelined.
"In many of the hardest hit communities, children lacked safe places where their needs could be met after evacuating from their homes," Mr Choo said.
There were no safe spaces for children to spend time or be left unattended by their parents in evacuation centres, he said.
"This left evacuated children in chaotic and often bewildering and terrifying environments," Mr Choo said.
"The long-term implications for children's mental health and psychological wellbeing are likely to be significant."
Save the Children said the fires showed how unprepared Australia was to help children during natural disasters.
Meanwhile, the country's biggest food charity was caught shorthanded during the bushfires due to prolonged droughts.
Chief executive Brianna Casey said Foodbank Australia tried to warn the government in October it had supply issues ahead of what looked to be a catastrophic summer.
"We simply did not have enough products on-hand to keep up with demand," Ms Casey said.
Foodbank received fewer food donations because of the drought's impact on food growing, with the drought also hurting rural and remote towns financially.
With the drought, the fires and now the coronavirus pandemic, Ms Casey is worried about the impact of fatigue on her staff.
"There has been no time to come up for air," she said.
Australian Associated Press