Assistance offered for Tweed flood victims
TWEED residents and businesses impacted by the weekend's storm and flooding will be eligible to apply for government assistance.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and NSW Premier Mike Baird announced the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangement (NDRRA) program today, designed to ease the financial burden experienced by communities during natural disasters.
The assistance will be available to 37 storm-affected communities across NSW, including the Tweed, Byron and Lismore shires.
The package includes:
- Assistance to help eligible people whose homes or belongings have been damaged, and who meet an assets and income test;
- Assistance to help councils in the affected local government areas with the costs associated with cleaning up and restoring damaged 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.
Prime Minister Turnbull said today's announcement demonstrated the commitment of the Australian and NSW governments to work together to help disaster-affected communities get back on their feet.
"This support we're announcing today is designed to provide immediate assistance to communities in the hardest hit local government areas," Mr Turnbull said.
Premier Baird said this was the first tranche of natural disaster declarations with the NSW Government working with other affected councils to identify impacts and make more declarations where appropriate.
"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 Baird said.
Tweed Shire Council is still counting the cost of damage from Saturday's deluge, which forced the villages of Fingal Head, Chinderah, Tumbulgum, South Murwillumbah and Seagulls Estate at Tweed Heads on evacuation alert.
Early estimates indicate the damage could be around $500,000 with roads and infrastructure inspected as the water recedes around the region.
Council's general manager Troy Green welcomed the announcement and said council would apply for whatever government assistance was on offer to help recover some of the costs.
"We welcome this announcement... that the Tweed will be able to access funding to assist with the costs of cleaning up and restoring damaged assets, such as roads and culverts," Mr Green said.
"This saves ratepayers from having to foot the entire bill, although there will be some costs that are not eligible under this program.
"It's also great news that assistance will be available to affected and eligible homeowners, businesses, primary producers and not-for-profit groups in the Tweed."
* 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.