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Federal Government extends helping hand to flood hit communities.



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23 March 2001 A34/2001

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT EXTENDS HELPING HAND TO FLOOD HIT COMMUNITIES

The Deputy Prime Minister, John Anderson, today announced extended assistance under the Federal Flood Recovery Fund and small business clean-up grants scheme to flood affected communities on the north coast of New South Wales. 

Mr Anderson said that access to the Fund would help communities and towns on the Darling, Williams/Patterson, Hunter, Manning, Hastings, Bellinger, Orara, Nambucca, MacIntyre, Wilsons, Macleay and Clarence rivers.

The $10 million Flood Recovery Fund was first established in November 2000 to assist the flood affected communities in Central and Northern NSW and Southern Queensland. 

“The Flood Recovery Fund was provided over and above the Federal Government’s Natural Disaster Relief Arrangements because of the scale of November floods,” Mr Anderson said.  “We have extended its operation to the 20 councils and shires of the NSW north coast hit by the extensive March 2001 floods.

“The Fund will reimburse councils and community organisations for the clean up of public and community facilities; contribute to the reinstatement of flood damaged public, sporting and community facilities; and provide grants to community service organisations to help them assist the affected communities.

The Business Grant assistance provides up to $10,000 to flood-affected small businesses to reimburse them for costs of clean up after the floods.  Applications can be lodged at the local Centrelink office.

“At least 30 towns and villages have been flooded to a greater or lesser extent.  Some like Kempsey have been badly damaged.  Others like Grafton were saved because their levees were high enough. Roads and bridges have been extensively damaged. Businesses and equipment have been flooded.

“But I have been heartened by the speed with which people prepared for the flooding and the speed with which they are getting back to work.  The resilience of the affected communities has been tremendous, and I am pleased the Federal Government has been able to help.

“The councils and community organisations of the NSW north coast can start applying for Flood Recovery Fund assistance now.  The guidelines and the application form are on the Internet.  I will be writing to councils immediately to ask them to accept applications from community organisations and advise my Department on local priorities.”

These assistance measures are in addition to the financial support for dairy farmers in the same region of NSW and in southern Queensland announced by the Federal Government on 19 March 2001.

For advice about the fund, contact Countrylink on Freecall 1800 026 222 or go to www.dotrs.gov.au/regional and follow the link to the Flood Recovery Fund.

 

Media Contact: Paul Chamberlin: (02) 6277 7680 / (0419) 233 989

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© Commonwealth of Australia 2000 Last updated:  Friday, 23 March 2001