Minister for Justice Michael Keenan, represented by the Member for Paterson Bob Baldwin, and NSW Deputy Premier and Minister for Justice and Police Troy Grant and Member for Upper Hunter Michael Johnsen today announced that disaster assistance has been activated in response to the flooding which has affected large parts of eastern New South Wales last week.
Mr Keenan said assistance is being provided through the jointly funded Commonwealth-State Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA), which is designed to help ease the financial burden communities’ bear as a result of natural disasters.
“Today’s announcement demonstrates the commitment of the Australian and New South Wales governments to work together to help flood-affected communities get back on their feet,” Mr Keenan said.
While damage assessments are continuing throughout the Hunter and Central Coast regions, today’s announcement will provide immediate assistance to the affected local government areas of Dungog, Eurobodalla, Great Lakes, Maitland, Newcastle and Port Stephens.
Mr Grant said that the assistance being provided under the NDRRA covered a broad range of support to help affected communities with their recovery.
“This assistance package will provide a much needed helping hand to affected families and businesses and also ensure funding is available to help local councils clean up and restore damaged infrastructure,” Mr Grant said.
Mr Baldwin said individuals and families suffering personal hardship and distress as a result of the floods can access assistance to meet their immediate needs for food, clothing and emergency accommodation.
“In addition, eligible people whose homes and essential household items have been destroyed or damaged can now apply for financial assistance to replace household items and make their homes safe and habitable,” Mr Baldwin said.
Other assistance measures available under the NDRRA include:
assistance to help councils in the affected local government areas with the costs associated with cleaning up and restoring damaged essential public assets;
concessional interest rate loans for small businesses, primary producers and not-for-profit organisations;
freight subsidies for primary producers; and
grants to not-for-profit organisations.
Mr Johnsen said the local community has been hit hard and this is some welcome relief.
“These communities have been extremely resilient following the recent storms and the devastation caused by April’s floods and this joint funding will provide the extra boost they need to get back on their feet.”
For information on personal hardship and distress assistance, contact the Disaster Welfare Assistance Line on 1800 018 444. To apply for a concessional loan, grant or freight subsidy, contact the NSW Rural Assistance Authority on 1800 678 593 or visit www.raa.nsw.gov.au.
Information on disaster assistance available for this natural disaster can be found on the Australian Government’s Disaster Assist website at www.disasterassist.gov.au and the Emergency NSW website at www.emergency.nsw.gov.au.