The first two months of a Palaszczuk Government program to make Queensland homes more cyclone resilient has been welcomed by North Queensland residents.
Minister for Housing and Public Works Mick de Brenni said the Household Resilience Program, which commenced on July 30 this year, had already received applications from 360 households.
“This initiative is intended to assist Queenslanders living in cyclone prone areas to undertake necessary upgrades and maintenance to make their homes more cyclone resilient,” Mr de Brenni said.
“We commenced this program after Governing from the Regions in Mackay, where I listened to locals and saw the work still being done after Cyclone Debbie.
“Less than two months after the program commenced, 360 households between Bundaberg and Cairns have applied for this central support – and already, not yet two months since the program was announced, there are 45 projects underway.”
Mr de Brenni said the Palaszczuk Government will fund 75% of eligible works up to a total project value of $15,000.
“That means home owners will benefit from a Palaszczuk Government contribution up to $11,250, with the home owner covering the remaining 25 percent,” Mr de Brenni said.
“Importantly, under our program the Palaszczuk Government makes a direct payment to the contractor, so Queensland home owners can manage their costs of living.
“We have also secured and made available low- or no-interest loan products to further lighten the load on Queenslanders.
“Queenslanders expect that if you work hard through your adult life, and you manage to save a deposit and buy your own home, you should be able to retire in relative security.
“Even if you then rely on a modest income like a pension, you should be able to live out your retirement in a safe and secure home.”
Mr de Brenni said the program had proven especially attractive to Queensland seniors, with more than 60% of applicants to the program aged over the age of 55.
“In fact more than a third are over the age of 65,” Mr de Brenni said.
“So far, the vast majority of applications, nearly 90 percent, are for roof replacement and roof structure tie-down upgrades.
“For Queenslanders who rely on a pension, or are living carefully off their retirement savings, projects like roof replacements or tie downs might otherwise be entirely out of reach.
“And we have listened to Queenslanders who have told us that it’s difficult to afford the excess on insurance payouts when homes are damaged due to extreme weather, and high insurance premiums on their homes.
“Almost 92 percent of applicants have home insurance, and we would expect that insurance companies will take into account the improved resilience of these homes when calculating insurance premiums.”
Mr de Brenni said the online application portal was easy to use, with most applications being made via smartphone or tablet.
“Our government is working to make it easy for Queenslanders to do business with us,” Mr de Brenni said.
“We are making it easy for Queenslanders to access government services when they want, how they want.
“Almost 60 percent of Household Resilience Program applications received have been made using a smartphone, with another 12 percent from an internet enabled tablet such as an iPad.
“Many Queenslanders have been directed to the Stronger Homes website through social media, with more than 5,300 visits originating from click throughs from Facebook.
“Responsive government is about providing the services that Queenslanders need, but it is also about responding to how Queenslanders want to do business.”