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Commonwealth assistance for Queenslanders impacted by Tropical Cyclone Yasi



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Commonwealth assistance for Queenslanders impacted by Tropical Cyclone Yasi THU 03 FEBRUARY 2011

Prime Minister, Attorney-General

Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Attorney-General Robert McClelland today announced Commonwealth Government assistance for people in Far North Queensland affected by the impact of Tropical Cyclone Yasi.

Financial assistance that will be provided includes:

• Assistance under the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements; • The Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment; and • The Disaster Income Recovery Subsidy.

Overnight, the Queensland Government declared 19 Local Government Areas across Far North Queensland natural disaster zones - Burdekin, Burke, Cairns, Carpentaria, Cassowary Coast, Charters Towers, Croydon, Doomadgee, Etheridge, Flinders, Hinchinbrook, Mackay, Mont Isa, Palm Island, Tablelands, Townsville, Whitsunday Wujal Wujal and Yarrabah.

Assistance under the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements

Assistance from the Australian Government will be provided to the Queensland Government through the jointly funded Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA).

Funding will be provided to Queensland for the cost of counter disaster operations as well as for Personal Hardship and Distress Payments.

Payments available through the Queensland Government include:

• Emergency Assistance grants - a grant of $170 per person, up to a maximum of $780 for a family of five or more is available. This grant is available to people experiencing hardship due to the disaster who require assistance to meet their basic needs.

• Essential Household Contents grants - assistance of up to $1,660 for individuals and $4,980 for families. • Repairs to Dwelling grants - assistance of up to $10,250 for individuals and $13,800 for families can be provided.

The Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment

The Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment (AGDRP) will be available to people in these areas significantly affected by the impact of Tropical Cyclone Yasi.

These payments will see $1000 for each eligible adult and $400 for each eligible child in the hands of families in need, including people who were forced to leave their homes or whose homes have sustained major damage.

Eligibility criteria apply for people claiming the AGDRP.

The Disaster Income Recovery Subsidy

The Government will extend additional support for eligible employees, small businesses and farmers in these areas who can demonstrate a loss of income as a direct result of Tropical Cyclone Yasi.

The Disaster Income Recovery Subsidy is a fortnightly payment of up to the maximum rate of existing Newstart Allowance for a period of 13 weeks. The subsidy will be available to those who will experience a loss of income as a direct result of the cyclone and its impact and are not currently receiving any other income support payment or pension.

The Commonwealth Government will support these people who will be unable to work through no fault of their own.

Other Commonwealth Government Assistance

A number of communities on the Far North Queensland coast have been severely damaged overnight as a result of Tropical Cyclone Yasi, particularly in the Innisfail region. Places such as Mission Beach, Innisfail, Silkwood, Tully, and Cardwell were hit with Yasi's full force last night.

Conditions remain extremely serious in large parts of the state, as Tropical Cyclone Yasi moves inland.

While the reports of damage are significant, major centres such as Cairns appear to have escaped the severe damage expected from a Category Five cyclone.

The Commonwealth Government will continue to support communities across Far North Queensland in the recovery process as conditions ease.

Once it is established that it is safe to do so, Centrelink staff will immediately begin to fan out across evacuation and recovery centres throughout the region to provide assistance to those impacted by the cyclone.

The Australian Government Crisis Committee will meet again today to help coordinate Commonwealth assistance to the region.

The Australian Defence Force has established a Joint Task Force JTF664 based in Townsville to coordinate ADF support.

There are approximately 4,000 Defence personnelbased in Townsville and it’s expected that these Townsville-based ADF members will form the Joint Task Force to support post-impact emergency relief assistance.

The ADF will respond to requests for further assistance from the Queensland Government.

For more information or to claim the Australian Government Disaster Payment or Disaster Income Recovery Subsidy, people should contact the Australian Government Emergency Information line on 180 22 66 or visit their local Centrelink office.

Information about Australian Government assistance is also available by visiting www.disasterassist.gov.au or www.centrelink.gov.au.

Information about Personal Hardship assistance is available through the Queensland Department for Community Services on 1800 173 349.