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NSW Bushfires: Additional Natural Disaster Assistance



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THE HON BARRY O’FARRELL MP Premier of NSW Minister for Western Sydney

THE HON NICOLA ROXON MP Attorney-General Minister for Emergency Management

MEDIA RELEASE

Thursday 10 January 2013

NSW BUSHFIRES: ADDITIONAL NATURAL DISASTER ASSISTANCE

NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell and Federal Minister for Emergency Management Nicola Roxon today announced Natural Disaster Assistance will be made available in a further eight Local Government Areas (LGAs) in NSW affected by bushfires - bringing the total number of LGAs eligible for assistance to 45.

“A very high level of threat continues for many communities around NSW and our emergency services personnel are working around the clock to contain these threats,” Mr O’Farrell said.

“Individuals and families, farmers, small business owners and councils affected by these bushfires need to know that help is there for them as they recover from this disaster.”

Natural Disaster Declarations have been made in the following eight LGAs, which will now lead to joint Commonwealth-state funded disaster assistance becoming available for these communities;

 Bland

 Carrathool  Griffith  Hay

 Leeton  Murrumbidgee  Narrandera  Temora

Natural Disaster Declarations were made in the following 37 LGAs yesterday;

 Albury

 Berrigan  Blayney  Boorowa  Cabonne  Conargo  Coolamon  Cooma-Monaro  Cootamundra  Corowa  Cowra

 Deniliquin  Forbes  Goulburn Mulwaree  Greater Hume  Gundagai  Harden  Jerilderie  Junee

 Lachlan  Lockhart  Murray  Orange  Palerang  Parkes  Queanbeyan  Shoalhaven  Snowy River  Tumbarumba  Tumut

 Upper Lachlan  Urana

 Wagga Wagga  Wakool  Weddin  Yass Valley  Young

More Local Government Areas may be declared in coming days as further assessments are completed.

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Ms Roxon said recovering from disasters is not just a local effort, but one that reaches nationwide.

“The Commonwealth and NSW are working well together to ensure this joint Federal-State funding is flowing to make a real difference to affected communities as they bounce back from these events,” Ms Roxon said.

“This is a very difficult time for many NSW residents, and these payments will go some way to assisting individuals and families to get back on their feet.

“This declaration triggers a number of disaster assistance schemes to assist with the cost of disaster relief and recovery including disaster relief grants to eligible individuals and families whose homes and essential household items have been destroyed or damaged.”

These disaster assistance schemes are made available by the NSW Government through the NSW Disaster Assistance Arrangements and they are supported by the Commonwealth Government through the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements.

A range of assistance grants are in the process of being made available;

 disaster relief grants to eligible individuals and families whose homes and essential household items have been destroyed or damaged are available  transport freight subsidies of up to 50 per cent on the carriage of livestock and fodder are available to help primary producers to a maximum of $15,000 per annum  loans of up to $130,000 are also available (subject to certain eligibility criteria), at a

concessional interest rate, for primary producers and small businesses in urgent need.  grants are also available to councils to help them meet the additional costs of emergency work to restore essential services  a special scheme is available to assist sporting clubs in meeting the costs of restoration of

essential club facilities that have been damaged or destroyed

“I would again like to thank the hard working members of our emergency services, who have made exceptional efforts to contain the fires and who are providing help and comfort to those suffering," Mr O’Farrell said.

Continue to stay up to date with the bushfire situation by checking www.rfs.nsw.gov.au, listening to your local radio station or by calling the NSW RFS Bush Fire Information Line on 1800 679 737. If your life is at risk, call Triple Zero (000) immediately.

MEDIA: Mark Tobin (02) 9228 5239 (Premier O’Farrell) Chris Owens 0409 945 476 (Nicola Roxon)

NSW Natural Disaster Assistance Schemes

The following schemes are available under the NSW Disaster Assistance Arrangements. More information on these schemes can be found in the NSW Disaster Assistance Guidelines, available through the Ministry for Police and Emergency Services website: www.emergency.nsw.gov.au

• Personal Hardship and Distress Assistance The Ministry for Police and Emergency Services can provide disaster relief grants to eligible individuals and families whose homes and essential household items have been destroyed or damaged by a natural disaster. People with limited financial resources and no insurance may be eligible for assistance for essential household items and structural repairs to the home.

Inquiries about the disaster relief grants and the eligibility criteria may be made by calling 1800 018 444.

Website: www.community.nsw.gov.au

• Primary Producers- Loans Loans of up to $130,000 are available (subject to certain eligibility criteria), at a concessional interest rate for those in urgent need. These loans may be used to meet carry-on requirements and the replacement and repair of damage not covered by insurance. The NSW Rural Assistance Authority administers this scheme. Inquiries should be directed to the Authority on 1800 678 593.

Website: www.raa.nsw.gov.au

• Primary Producers- Transport Subsidies Transport freight subsidies of up to 50 per cent on the carriage of livestock and fodder are available to help primary producers. The maximum subsidy available is $15,000 per annum. Inquiries should be made to the nearest Department of Primary Industries office. The public inquiry number is 1800 814 647.

Website: www.dpi.nsw.gov.au

• Small Businesses Loans of up to $130,000 are available at a concessional rate to small businesses affected by disasters and which meet certain eligibility criteria. This finance is available to those unable to obtain assistance through normal channels. The NSW Rural Assistance Authority administers this scheme. Inquiries should be directed to the Authority on 1800 678 593.

Website: www.raa.nsw.gov.au

• Assistance for Councils Grants are available to meet the additional costs of emergency work to restore essential services, including the provision of emergency levee banks, which are in excess of normal operations. Grants are available to meet 100 per cent of eligible emergency works and 75 per cent of eligible restorations works up to $116,000 with 100 per cent cost recovery beyond that level. The Department of Finance and Services (NSW Public Works) administers this assistance. The contact person is Stuart Miller (02) 9372 8871.

Website: http://publicworks.nsw.gov.au

Grants are available to help Councils to permanently restore roads and bridges to pre-disaster standards. These grants meet 75 per cent of the first $116,000 expenditure and 100 per cent beyond that level. This assistance is administered by the NSW Roads and Maritime Services. The contact person is Allan Piper (02) 8588 5655.

Website: www.rta.nsw.gov.au

• Trustees of Parks and Reserves Provided the facilities concerned constitute "public assets", grants may be made available to those parties (e.g. trustees) responsible for managing Crown Land, parks and reserves, who do not have the financial capacity to meet restoration costs from their own resources. Department of Primary Industries - Catchments and Lands Division. administers this scheme. The contact person is Helen Muldoon on (02) 8258 7424.

Website: http://www.crownland.nsw.gov.au

• Sporting Clubs A special scheme is available to assist sporting clubs in meeting the costs of restoration of essential club facilities that have been damaged or destroyed. The assistance is made available to those clubs which do not have the financial capacity to meet restoration costs from their own resources, but which have the capacity to repay any loan that may be granted. Under these arrangements the maximum assistance available is $12,000, including a grant of up to $2,000 and the balance by way of repayable advance with interest. NSW Treasury administers this scheme. The public enquiry number is (02) 9228 5181.

This finance is available to those unable to obtain assistance through normal channels.

• Churches and Voluntary Non-profit Organisations Loan assistance is available to churches and voluntary non-profit organisations for the restoration of essential facilities that have been damaged or destroyed. Eligible groups will usually perform a service for the community or environment and are funded by grants or donations.

Non-profit organisations that perform a commercial function, charge a fee for a service or represent commercial or industrial groups, e.g. industry bodies are not eligible for assistance. These organisations can recover costs from their members or through fees. As with other schemes, assistance is only available to those organisations which do not have the financial capacity to meet restorations costs from their own resources, insurance and

are unable to obtain assistance through normal channels. Advances are subject to a maximum of $25,000 at a concessional interest rate per annum. NSW Treasury administers this scheme. The public enquiry number is (02) 9228 5181.

• Motor Vehicle Stamp Duty Relief Motorists whose cars have been written off as a result of a natural disaster may be eligible for a stamp duty refund on their replacement vehicle. Refunds are made where the written off vehicle was comprehensively insured and the insurance does not cover duty for a replacement vehicle. The Office of State Revenue administers these refunds and can be contacted on 1300 139 814.

Website: www.osr.nsw.gov.au

• Commonwealth/State Natural Disaster Arrangements The above Schemes are eligible for Australian Government financial assistance, usually by way of partial reimbursement of actual expenditure, under Australian Government Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements. Under the cost sharing formula, NSW pays for the first $134.9 million of natural disaster costs in 2011-12, and can claim from the Australian Government half of all eligible Personal Hardship and Distress costs within this first threshold. The Australian Government then matches NSW expenditure for costs between $134.9 million, and $236.1 million and beyond that covers three quarters of all costs.

Other assistance

• Insurance If you have a query relating to insurance you can call the Insurance Council on 1300 444 557. This service is available to all.