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Cyclone Larry.

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Media Release The Hon Fran Bailey, MP

22 March 2006


“Our hearts and prayers go out to all those local communities who have borne the brunt of Cyclone Larry,” Fran Bailey said today as she expressed her concern for all those affected by the Cyclone.

“I have spoken to Federal MP Warren Entsch who tells me of the devastation on the ground, as well as the tremendous efforts local volunteers are putting in to help. I assured him the Australian Government will do all it can to assist local communities to rebuild.”

Today the Prime Minister announced further assistance, including grants of up to $10,000 for eligible small businesses, including tourism businesses. Concessional loans of up to $200,000 under the Natural Disaster Relief Arrangements will be available for nine years with repayments deferred for up to two years. The first 25 per cent of the loan will be provided as a grant.

The Minister for Small Business and Tourism, Fran Bailey, urged eligible tourism and small businesses to apply for assistance.

“The Australian Government is committed to helping small businesses right away. I would urge small businesses who need some help to put their hand up and contact Centrelink on 1802 002.”

The Tourism Minister also said Australian holiday makers could also play their part by continuing their holidays to unaffected areas.

“Cairns and Port Douglas are open for business. If you planned a holiday to these areas, I would encourage you to keep your holiday booking and help the local tourism industry,” Fran Bailey said.

Federal MP Warren Entsch said the tourism industry in the unaffected areas was ready and willing to welcome tourists.

“North Queensland is as beautiful today as it was last week. I have spoken to local tourism operators and they are open for business. Thousands of Queenslanders rely upon tourism for their jobs so let’s help keep them employed. Ring your hotel, ring Tourism Tropical North Queensland or ring my Office and check the details. But I assure you, you’ll have a great holiday.”

Media Contact: Kevin Lowe 02 6277 7450 or 0408 404 468.