In addition to the financial help already available to residents in Northern New South Wales and South East Queensland impacted by the flooding disaster, further support will be extended to three local government areas in New England, from today.
The Commonwealth Government has activated the Disaster Recovery Payment and the Disaster Recovery Allowance to support more communities in the New South Wales local government areas of Armidale, Glen Innes Severn and Tenterfield.
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.
Deputy Prime Minister and Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce, said the Coalition Government is committed to seeing every-day Australians out of this natural disaster.
“From today residents of Armidale, Glen Innes and Tenterfield will now have access to the Disaster Recovery Payment and the Disaster Recovery Allowance to help them bounce back as quickly as possible,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.
“It’s payments like these that could mean the difference between families repairing homes or not, and I’m proud the Liberals and Nationals Government is able to assist.”
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 particularly as it continues to unfold in New South Wales 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 recedes.
“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.”
Disaster Recovery Allowance (DRA) 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 and 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.
“Supporting communities through crisis is what Services Australia is geared to do, and staff stand ready to process claims as quickly as possible to assist disaster-impacted communities,” 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.
“Unfortunately, the evolving flooding situation will mean some of our services centres 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.
“Services Australia is re-positioning its Mobile Service Centres ready for deployment to South East Queensland, Northern New South Wales, and other impacted locations within New South Wales to provide additional on the ground assistance across both states, once it’s safe to enter some of the worst hit areas.
“To provide further support, we are also pausing Centrelink debt raising and new debt recovery in the affected locations.”
Online claiming via myGov is available 24x7. The Australian Government Emergency Information Line is open Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm local time. For more information on support available, visit servicesaustralia.gov.au/disaster.