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Over 20,000 victims receive disaster relief payments.



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MEDIA RELEASE Senator the Hon Joe Ludwig Minister for Human Services Senator for Queensland

Monday 16 February 2009

Over 20,000 victims receive disaster relief payments

The first week of the Centrelink operation to distribute Australian Government Disaster Recovery payments has resulted in more than 20,000 victims of the bushfire tragedy in Victoria and floods in Queensland receiving almost $17 million.

In Victoria, Centrelink has processed 9236 payments since responding on the first day of the emergency. These claims represent $10,615,800 to 12,791 adults and children.

At the same time in north Queensland, Centrelink has made 5020 flood relief payments, delivering $6.1 million to 7768 Australians.

People can receive payments directly into a nominated bank account within 24 hours or ask to be paid by cash or cheque at Centrelink’s recovery centres in the devastated areas.

“The response by all Australians to the unimaginable bushfire disaster has been tremendous and I’m proud to say Centrelink staff have worked tirelessly to do their bit to help,” the Minister for Human Services, Senator Joe Ludwig said.

“Most of these Centrelink employees have volunteered to go into these areas and are working very long hours in difficult conditions.“

In the north Queensland floods, Centrelink continues to operate special services from the Ingham Community Recovery Centre and is visiting local businesses.

“Over the next two days Centrelink will also send extra staff to Palm Island off Townsville to raise awareness of the payments,” Senator Ludwig said.

“Special service arrangements are also in place for Centrelink customers in Karumba and Croydon who are currently isolated by flood waters.”

“An ex-gratia payment equivalent to 13 weeks Newstart allowance is also being offered to assist small businesses, farmers and employees who’ve lost income due to the floods.”

People can lodge assistance claims by phoning the Flood Assistance Hotline 180 2222. They can also lodge a claim online by visiting www.centrelink.gov.au.

Senator Ludwig’s Media Contact: Joe Scavo 0413 800 757