Help for individuals, primary producers and communities affected by the monsoon trough event in North Queensland

The North Queensland Livestock Industry Recovery Agency was announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison on 1 March 2019 to assist with the immediate response, recovery and reconstruction efforts in support of North, Far North and Western Queensland communities affected by the monsoon trough event. 

The Agency represents the Government’s long-term commitment to rebuild the region long after the flood waters have receded, and is led by the Honourable Shane Stone AC QC.

The Australian and Queensland Governments have already announced a range of assistance measures to help individuals, primary producers and communities get back on their feet. These measures are part of a multi-stage approach to assist with recovery and reconstruction efforts, and include immediate and long-term initiatives.

More than $450 million has already been committed to affected communities in Queensland. This includes a $242 million long-term recovery package, jointly funded by the Commonwealth and Queensland Governments. This package will cover a wide range of initiatives, including helping small businesses to recover, mental health and wellbeing services, and future flood-preparedness measures. 

The Agency will continue to consider further ways to support primary producers and communities to recover and rebuild.

ASSISTANCE FOR INDIVIDUALS

Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA) assistance

The joint Australian, state and territory governments’ Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA) provide a range of financial assistance to the natural disaster-declared areas in each state or territory.

For the storms and floods which impacted parts of North and Far North Queensland from 25 January 2019, a range of assistance measures have been made available. This includes funding to restore damaged essential public assets and for counter disaster operations. Some areas may receive assistance for personal hardship and to reconnect essential services.

Special Disaster Assistance Recovery grants up to $75,000 are available to assist eligible primary producers with a range of clean-up and reinstatement activities. This includes removing debris, disposing of dead livestock, salvaging crops, grain and feed, and repairing plant and equipment. Apply by 11 August.

Special Disaster Assistance Recovery Grants up to $50,000 are available to assist eligible small businesses and not-for profit organisations with a range of clean-up and reinstatement activities. This includes removing debris, repairing buildings, paying additional wages to staff to assist with clean-up work, and leasing equipment or materials to enable the resumption of business. 

For further information on available assistance measures, visit Disaster Assist or Queensland Reconstruction Authority.  

Disaster Recovery Payment and Disaster Recovery Allowance

The Australian Government has activated the Disaster Recovery Allowance and Disaster Recovery Payment to provide further support to affected individuals and families.

The Disaster Recovery Payment is a one-off non-means tested payment of $1000 for eligible adults and $400 for eligible children under 16 years of age. Apply by 30 August 

If you lost income as a direct result of the Far North Queensland Floods, you may also be eligible for a Disaster Recovery Allowance. Apply by 30 August

For further information on these payments and eligibility, visit the Department of Human Services website or phone 180 22 66.

Ex-gratia Disaster Recovery Payment and Disaster Recovery Allowance

The ex-gratia Disaster Recovery Payment is one-off payment of $1000 for eligible adults and $400 for eligible children under 16 years of age. To be eligible, you must be a New Zealand non-protected Special Category visa holder (sub-class 444). Apply by 30 August.

New Zealanders who can demonstrate a loss of income may also be eligible for an ex-gratia Disaster Recovery Allowance. To be eligible, you must hold a Special Category visa (sub-class 444)

For further information on these payments and eligibility, visit the Department of Human Services website or phone 180 22 66.

REBUILDING YOUR BUSINESS

Restocking and replanting grant and on-farm infrastructure grant

Eligible primary producers will soon be able to apply for up to $400,000 in seed funding to assist with restocking, replanting and replacement of on-farm infrastructure damaged by flooding. The grant will need to be matched with a 50 per cent co-contribution.

The Australian Government is working with the Queensland Government on delivering the grants to primary producers. Further information on how to apply will be available soon.

Low interest loans

Disaster Assistance Loans of up to $250,000 are available to primary producers and small businesses whose assets have been significantly damaged. These loans are provided to assist you to re-establish normal operations by covering expenses such as repairing buildings, purchasing stock or meeting carry-on requirements. These loans have a maximum term of up to 10 years and an initial annual interest rate of 1.37%. For more information call 1800 623 946 or visit the QRIDA website.

Disaster Assistance Loans of up to $100,000 are available to not-for-profit organisations whose assets have been significantly damaged. These loans are provided to assist you to re-establish normal operations by covering expenses such as repairing buildings, purchasing stock or restoring essential premises. These loans have a maximum term of up to 10 years and an initial annual interest rate of 1.37%. For more information call 1800 623 946 or visit the QRIDA website.

Disaster Assistance Loans (Essential Working Capital) of up to $100,000 are available to primary producers, small businesses and not-for-profit organisations which have suffered a significant loss of income as a result of the monsoon trough event. These loans are to assist you with essential working capital expenses such as paying salaries or wages, rent or buying goods. These loans have a maximum term of up to 10 years and an initial annual interest rate of 1.37%. For more information call 1800 623 946 or visit the QRIDA website.

Infrastructure

BlazeAid can provide assistance with rebuilding fences and other structures which have been damaged or destroyed. A number of camps have been set up in impacted areas of north Queensland:

Richmond (John Lillico) – Phone 0484 145 732 or email richmond.blazeaid@gmail.com  

Cloncurry (Christine & John Male) – Phone 0418 745 994 or email blaizeaid.cloncurry@gmail.com   Julia Creek (Christine & Brian Carr) – Phone 0428 984 117 or email juliacreek.blazeaid@gmail.com  Winton (Barry Thompson) – Phone 0417 093 911 or email blazeaid.barry@gmail.com

ASSSISTANCE FOR FAMILIES AND COMMUNITIES

Health Services

NQ Connect is a 24/7 free phone and online counselling service which is available to all people in flood-affected areas. Trained professional counsellors, psychologists, and social workers can provide immediate advice and support, and if necessary, refer people to care which meets their needs. Call 1300 059 625 or visit the website.

Lifeline offers personal support and assistance for self and family, and can be reached on 13 11 14 or via the website.

Beyond Blue can help with personal issues including anxiety and depression, and can be reached on 1300 224 636 or via the website.

The Kids Helpline provides support for young people aged 5 to 25 and can be reached on 1800 55 1800 or via the website.

Education Services

Assistance for Isolated Children and ABSTUDY recipients will be eligible for an additional $1,000 to help them with the continuing cost of education. More information will be available soon.

Non-government schools which support regional students and boarders impacted by floods will be eligible for funding to assist teachers, students and communities to meet the costs of education. More information will be available soon.

Student and Teacher Flood Assistance claims are available to assist staff and families to replace essential educational resources. Families of students are able to claim up to $150 per student and staff members are able to claim up to $1000. Call 1800 916 770 for further information.

FINANCIAL ADVICE

Rural Financial Counselling Service

The free Rural Financial Counselling Service should be the first point of contact for farmers as they assess their options for recovery.

Rural Financial Counsellors can outline the range of support available and can help people apply for the Farm Household Allowance. The Farm Household Allowance assists eligible farming families to meet the cost of living.

For more information, visit the North Queensland Rural Financial Counselling Service website or phone (07) 4845 4848.

Tax matters

The Australian Taxation Office offers a range of assistance and support strategies to help individuals and businesses affected by a natural disaster, including:

  • Lodgement and payment deferrals for impacted postcodes
  • Variations to ‘pay as you go’ (PAYG) instalments
  • Fast tracking refunds

For more information callthe Australian Taxation Office on 1800 806 218 or visit their website.

REGIONAL INITIATIVES

New weather gauges and rain gauges will be installed to enable the Bureau of Meteorology to provide more accurate and effective flood advice. They will also help farmers mitigate impacts of future floods by giving them advance warning to move livestock and mobile infrastructure.

The Australian Government has committed $440 million under the Roads of Strategic Importance program to reseal and upgrade roads between Townsville and Tennant Creek, Rockhampton and Mount Isa, and Cairns to the Northern Territory Border.

The Australian Government will invest $30.3 million over four years to fight established pests and weeds. Funding will deliver biological controls, map pests and will deliver training and materials to farmers on the ground. More information will be available soon.   

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