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UPDATE: Relief payments for cyclone victims in Whitsundays

Scenes from the Whitsundays after Cyclone Debbie.
Scenes from the Whitsundays after Cyclone Debbie.

UPDATE

NOW is the time for Whitsunday locals to have their say to help develop an effective recovery plan after Cyclone Debbie made impact.

Today and tomorrow, Daniel Wagner, the Principal Economic Development Officer, Mackay Isaac Whitsunday Regional Office and Department of State Development will be at Proserpine High School and Cannonvale TAFE thanks to the Whitsunday Coast Chamber of Commerce (WCCC).

This will provide locals with advice on concessional loans for repairs and working on capital available now through the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements Part B funding.

The Chamber will require the feedback of: 

  • Length of Business closure
  • Guesstimates of damage costs to stock, infrastructure
  • Guesstimates of loss of income,
  • Potential/ determined job losses
  • Overall financial impact on your business.

Information can be forward to WCCC secretary Judy Porter at info@whitsundaycoastchamber.com.au.

Minister for Small Business Leeanne Enoch said joint State and Federal Category B assistance to Mackay and Whitsunday areas under the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA), had been activated based on early damage reports.

Category B is inclusive of Natural Disaster Assistance (Concessional Loans) for Small Business of up to $250,000 and Essential Working Capital Loans Scheme for Small Business of up to $100,000.

To apply go to www.qraa.qld.gov.au/, telephone 1800 623 946 and for more information visit www.business.qld.gov.au.

Telstra has also extended the areas which are eligible for its disaster relief assistance package to include additional areas in north and south east Queensland.

Any residential and small businesses customers in Queensland who, as a result of Cyclone Debbie or flooding, lost services or have been evacuated are eligible to apply.

To make the most of this service, customers should call Telstra on 132 203 to report a fault and register for the assistance package.

The new areas which are covered by Telstra's Disaster Relief Package include: Alligator Creek, Beenleigh, Beaudesert Bingegang, Campwin Beach, Carmila, Clairview, Colston Park, Connor Range, Coppabella, Dysart, Glenden, Hay Point, Koumala, Micelre, Middlemount, Midge Point, Moranbag, Mount Coolon, Munbura, Nebo, Sarina, Septimus, Shinfield, The Chase, Waterson.

Short term measures included in the package are: 

  • Free use of Telstra public payphones in the affected area
  • Free call diversion from an affected fixed home or business phone service to another fixed or mobile service of the customers choice, regardless of carrier
  • Customers who use the free call diversion to divert their affected fixed home or business phone to the Telstra mobile service, can also make local and STD calls on their mobile at fixed line rates.

Long term services include:

Fixed services

  • Cancellation of a Telstra fixed phone service at the affected address, with number reservation for up to 12 months from the date of the cyclone; or
  • Free call diversion from the customer's Telstra fixed phone service to another Australian fixed or mobile service of their choice, regardless of the carrier. This offer is applicable for a maximum period of 6 months from the date of the cyclone.
  • Customers who use the free call diversion service to divert their affected Telstra fixed phone service to their Telstra mobile service, can also make local and STD® calls from that mobile service at fixed line rates, in accordance with their selected HomeLine® or BusinessLine® plan (limited to one designated Telstra mobile diversion per affected Telstra fixed phone account).
  • In addition, Telstra will apply a one off credit to the value of $500 inc. GST to the customer's Telstra fixed phone account to help cover the costs of the following, if required:
  • Connection of a Telstra fixed phone service at one temporary residence • Re-connection of a Telstra fixed phone service at the customer's original permanent premises
  • Number reservation
  • Additional call charges. BigPond® services

For Telstra residential and small business customers who do not wish to retain their BigPond service at an affected address:

  • Disconnection of the affected BigPond service without the requirement to pay any applicable early termination charges or fees, as well as an email address reservation for up to 12 months from the date of the cyclone.
  • Connection of a BigPond service at an alternate residential or business address without any connection charges within a 12 month period beginning from the date of the cyclone.
  • For Telstra residential and small business customers who wish to retain their BigPond service at a temporary alternate address, Telstra will apply a one off credit to the value of $110 inc. GST to the customer's account to help cover the costs of the following:
  • Move of a BigPond service to a temporary alternate address 
  • Move of a BigPond service back to the customer's original address.
  • For existing Telstra Mobile Broadband residential and small business customers - free replacement of the modem or USB device if required.

EARLIER

WHITSUNDAY Residents who have been affected by Cyclone Debbie will able to receive at least $150 each due to losing power for more than five days.

The Immediate hard ship assistance - Essential services grant, supports those who have been directly impacted by a disaster where they have experienced loss of one or more essential services for more than five days.

In order to be eligible, applicants must also have been:

  •  Suffering hardship, experienced loss of electricity including other forms experienced loss of power supply which is the only source of power to your property
  • Gas including bottled gas, if the principle place of residence is gas only but if electricity is connected then gas alone does not qualify for assistance
  • Water but only where an alternate source of water is not supplied. 

The grant is not income or asset tested and applicants could receive $150 per person, up to $750 for a family of five or more.

However, the grant is only available for seven days following the activation of the grant in the area.

An online application can be made online via https://www.communityrecovery.qld.gov.au/#/at">https://www.communityrecovery.qld.gov.au/#/at or by phoning the Community Recovery Hotline on 1800 173 349.

Yesterday, Minister for Justice, Michael Keenan announced the Australian Government activated the Disaster Recovery Payment and the Disaster Recovery Allowance for eligible residents in the Whitsunday local government area.

"By making these payments available today, the Australian Government will ensure that those who have lost their homes or livelihoods have the additional assistance they need to help them on the road to recovery," he said.

"The Australian Government will continue to monitor the impacts of the event and are in touch with the Queensland Government regarding recovery assistance, to ensure that communities have access to the assistance they need."

There is also financial assistance available for individuals or non-profit organisations in need as well as freight subsidies on offer for primary producers whose assets were damaged significantly.

If you lost your home, suffered an injury as a result of the disaster, you may be able to access a one-off payment of $1000 per adult and $400 for each child as part of the Disaster Recovery Payment.

For those eligible for the Disaster Recovery Allowance, income assistance can be accessed for 13 weeks.

Last night, another level of assistance was announced by Mr Keenan and Queensland Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Services, Mark Ryan.

This additional assistance is the provision of concessional interest rate loans and interest rate subsidies for small business, primary, producers and non-profit organisations who have had their assets damaged or have suffered a high loss of income.

Minister for Small Business Leeanne Enoch said joint State and Federal Category B assistance to Mackay and Whitsunday areas under the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements had been activated.

"We will soon be contacting businesses to get a better understanding of how they have been impacted - and this information will be used to seek further NDRRA assistance - such as Category C Small Business Grants," she said.

"Should these grants become available, DTESB will send staff into the impacted area to help small businesses make their applications."

Member for Dawson, George Christensen said the Whitsunday Region copped the full force of Cyclone Debbie and some people were still without power.

"I have been talking to my constituents and I know they are doing it tough," he said.

"This assistance will ensure those who have lost their homes or livelihoods have the support they need."

Financial assistance will also be available through a Community Recovery Hub in Bowen.

To lodge a claim for the disaster recovery payments, call the Australian Government Information Line on 180 22 66 from 8am-7pm Monday to Friday and from 8am to 5pm Saturday to Sunday or via humanservices.gov.au/disaster.
Completed claim forms can also be lodged in person at an Australian Department of Human Services service centre, Agent or Access Point.

Those who have been affected by the cyclone are encourages to visit www.communityrecovery.qld.gov.au to find out about assistance and referrals.

For more information visit www.disasterassist.gov.au.

Topics:  cyclone debbie whitsundays

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