The Morrison Government has now activated financial help for 21 Queensland Local Government Areas (LGAs) with the addition of Bundaberg, Goondiwindi and Western Downs to the list of areas eligible for financial help due to the flooding disaster along the East Coast.
The Disaster Recovery Payment is a one-off, non-means tested payment of $1000 per eligible adult and $400 per eligible child, and is available to eligible people in those affected local government areas who have suffered a significant loss, including a severely damaged or destroyed home or serious injury.
Minister for Emergency Management and National Recovery and Resilience, Senator the Hon Bridget McKenzie said the Australian Government has been swift to make financial help available because help is needed now.
“We are closely monitoring the flood emergency and our hearts go out to those people whose lives are being devastated,” Minister McKenzie said.
“We have made financial help available now because we know the economic impact of disasters like these are felt long after the flood water recede.
“There will be some very tough days, weeks and months ahead for thousands of people in New South Wales and Queensland and the clean-up and recovery process will take some time,” Minister McKenzie said.
Disaster Recovery Allowance will also be provided in the same affected local government areas. DRA assists employees and sole traders who experience a loss of income as a direct result of a major disaster. DRA is payable for a maximum of 13 weeks and is taxable.
Equivalent financial assistance will also be available to eligible New Zealand citizens (‘non-protected’ Special Category Visa, subclass 444 holders) affected by the floods.
Minister for Government Services, Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC encouraged residents impacted by the floods to check their eligibility for the Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment and the Disaster Recovery Allowance on the Services Australia website, before lodging a claim for assistance.
“Services Australia has already approved 52,000 claims and paid more than $62.7 million in Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment and Disaster Recovery Allowance,” Minister Reynolds said.
“The easiest and quickest way to claim the Disaster Recovery Payment and Disaster Recovery Allowance is online through myGov. If people require support to claim, they can call the Australian Government Emergency Information Line on 180 22 66.
“Services Australia’s response has adapted to the unfolding flooding situation. We are working directly with Queensland and NSW emergency authorities and staff have been deployed to multiple evacuation centres, as soon as safe to do so.
“Mobile Service Centres are being pre-positioned ready for deployment to South East Queensland and Northern New South Wales.
“Unfortunately, some service centres in flood impacted areas have temporarily closed or may need to close. We urge people to heed local emergency services warnings and not travel unless it is safe to do so, and instead manage their regular business online or over the phone where possible.
“To provide further support, we are also pausing Centrelink debt raising and new debt recovery in the affected locations. We also want to reassure people who have more immediate priorities in these Local Government Areas that they have 6 months to claim payments – up until 27 August 2022.”
The 21 eligible LGAs in Queensland are: Bundaberg, Goondiwindi, Western Downs, Brisbane, Fraser Coast, Gladstone, Gold Coast, Gympie, Ipswich, Lockyer Valley, Logan, Moreton Bay, Noosa, North Burnett, Redland, Scenic Rim, Somerset, South Burnett, Southern Downs, Sunshine Coast and Toowoomba.
The 17 eligible LGAs in New South Wales are: Armidale, Ballina, Bellingen, Byron, Clarence Valley, Coffs Harbour, Glen Innes Severn, Hornsby, Kempsey, Kyogle, Lismore, Nambucca, Port Macquarie/Hastings, Richmond, Tenterfield, The Hills and Tweed.