Mur'bah flood recovery centre open, assistance offered
A FLOOD recovery centre will open in Murwillumbah today, as Tweed Mayor Katie Milne urges businesses hard hit by the devastating floods not to give up hope.
The flood recovery centre is due to open at noon today in the Murwillumbah Community Centre in Nullum St and will be a one-stop shop for victims of the worst flood on record.
Mr Ferguson, who brings with him more than 40 years' experience in emergency services including previous roles in the fire services in South Australia and Victoria, kicked off his job in Lismore yesterday and is expected to visit Murwillumbah later today .
Mr Ferguson's responsibilities will include arranging short and long-term accommodation for those in need, supporting clean-up efforts, working with small business and primary producers to understand the flood's impacts and ensuring insurance companies are working rapidly to resolve claims.
Maintain hope on insurance
Meanwhile, Tweed Mayor Katie Milne has urged businesses reeling from their losses to maintain their hope, saying she had been buoyed by a meeting with insurers.
She said businesses should not assume they would not be covered by insurance.
"Until you get the definite no, just have some hope that you will get that insurance,” Cr Milne told ABC North Coast.
Cr Milne said council was in a similar position to any other business in the shire, with losses in excess of $100 million expected.
"We hope we will be able to get insurance aswell,” she said.
"We are a bit like the rest of the business community whether our insurance is going to cover us for everything or not, we are just working through those processes. We are hopeful as well. I just urge everybody to not give up hope.”
Cr Milne said council had suffered extensive damage to its fleet and infrastructure, with the road network a mess.
"All of our road network - just about every single road in the shire - has been significantly damaged,” she said.
"We've had a number of bridges that have been washed away or are standing on its last posts and things like that. We've had huge chunks of roads washed out and there are massive potholes everywhere and the roads have been undermined. We are urging motorists to be so careful on the roads, it is so sliippery, if you have to come, just make sure you are very, very careful.”
A special information session will be held at the Murwillumbah RSL tomorrow from 6.30am with key representatives from Local, State and Federal government agencies as well as the SES to assist in providing the most up to date information regarding financial assistance and the recovery efforts and clean up as well as business reestablishment. To register, visith the Murwillumbah and District Chamber of Commerce.
Meanwhile, the Australian Bankers' Association said today people impacted by the floods in NSW and Queensland could access emergency support from banks, including a suspension of loan repayments or fee waivers.
ABA Chief Executive Anna Bligh said banks had dedicated teams to help customers affected by natural disasters.
"I know too well the heartbreak that comes with natural disasters, and the devastating impact on people's financial security and well-being,” the former Qld premier said.
"People have lost loved ones, their homes and had their livelihoods destroyed as a result of the floods. Banks have a crucial role to play in easing the burden in tough times like these.
"Banks stand ready to help customers with their financial commitments and I encourage all those in flood affected regions to reach out for help if they need it. Whether it's for you personally or your business, banks can offer real assistance.”
The type of assistance offered by banks will depend on each customer's circumstances and needs, but typically include:
- Suspending home loan or credit card repayments
- Waiving charges associated with withdrawing term deposits early
- Emergency accommodation assistance, and
- Waiving fees related to restructuring business loans.
Assistance is also available from a range of NSW Government agencies, including:
- Disaster Welfare Services (Department of Justice); NSW Housing; Primary Industries; Mental and Community Health; and The Insurance Council of Australia.
- More information about recovery and services available is available online at: www.emergency.nsw.gov.au.