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Commonwealth Disaster Assistance for Queensland in response to Tropical Cyclone Marcia

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Today the Commonwealth Government has announced additional assistance to the communities of Queensland suffering the impacts of Tropical Cyclone Marcia.

The Disaster Recovery Allowance is now available to eligible employees, primary producers and sole traders in the Fitzroy and Wide Bay-Burnett districts.

Tropical Cyclone Marcia has affected many individuals, including people’s ability to earn a living.  The Disaster Recovery Allowance is designed to provide a helping hand to those who have lost income as a result of this devastating event so they can get back on their feet.

The Allowance will also support local businesses by encouraging the local workforce to remain in the area and be available for employment when businesses recover.

The Disaster Recovery Allowance provides payments to eligible individuals for up to 13 weeks equivalent to the maximum rate of Newstart Allowance or Youth Allowance for eligible Australian residents.

The Commonwealth Government has also extended the Disaster Recovery Payment to significantly affected residents in the Wide Bay-Burnett district.  This assistance is in addition to that already being provided to residents in the district of Fitzroy.

People eligible for the Disaster Recovery Payment, who have lost or suffered significant damage to their homes or suffered injury as a result of the disaster, can access a one-off payment of $1000 per adult and $400 for each child.

This assistance is over and above the support already being provided through the
jointly-funded Commonwealth-State Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA).

Federal Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry said it was crucial to provide financial assistance that has an immediate impact, as well as long term benefits to support primary producers and small businesses.

Federal Member for Flynn Ken O’Dowd said some communities are doing it tough and the extra financial assistance in these difficult times is very welcome.

NDRRA assistance available for eligible individuals and families, primary producers, small businesses, non-profit organisations and local government councils includes:

· Individuals and families in the local government areas (LGAs) of Banana, Gladstone, Livingstone, North Burnett and Rockhampton can access personal hardship and distress assistance and essential services safety and reconnection assistance;

· Small businesses in the LGAs of Banana, Gympie, Livingstone, North Burnett and Rockhampton can access direct damage concessional loans and essential working capital loans;

· Primary producers can access direct damage concessional loans, freight subsidies and essential working capital loans in the LGAs of Banana, Livingstone, North Burnett and Rockhampton;

· Non-profit organisations in the LGAs of Banana, Livingstone, North Burnett and Rockhampton can access concessional loan and grant packages;

· Councils of Banana, Central Highlands, Gladstone, Gympie, Livingstone, Mackay, Moreton Bay, North Burnett and Rockhampton have received financial assistance to help with the costs of preparing their communities for the cyclone and the clean-up operations;

· Councils of Banana, Gladstone, Gympie, Livingstone, North Burnett and Rockhampton have also received financial assistance to help with the costs of restoring essential public assets.

The Commonwealth and Queensland governments are committed to supporting local communities impacted by natural disasters.

For information on how to lodge a claim for the Disaster Recovery Allowance or Disaster Recovery Payment, call the Commonwealth Government Information Line on 180 22 66 from 8am to 5pm local time, Monday to Friday. Completed claim forms can also be lodged in person at a Commonwealth Government Department of Human Services service centre.

For information on joint Commonwealth-State NDRRA assistance measures, contact the Queensland Government Community Recovery Hotline on 1800 173 349 or visit the Queensland Disaster Management website at www.disaster.qld.gov.au.

Further information on Commonwealth Government assistance is available online at www.disasterassist.gov.au.