Claims from Mid West residents for cyclone Seroja relief near 4000, as more Federal funding sought
The State Government is negotiating with the Commonwealth to secure additional funding for Mid West farmers and small businesses affected by ex-tropical cyclone Seroja, as the number of claims for assistance processed by Services Australia nears 4000.
Immediate support to individuals in need of food, shelter and clothing in the wake of the cyclone has already been provided under the category A and B of the Federal Government’s Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements.
Thousands of cyclone-affected residents lined up for hours at evacuation centres in Geraldton last month to apply for State emergency assistance through the Department of Communities before the McGowan Government moved the application process online.
Services Australia general manager Hank Jongen said more than 3800 claims for one-off and short-term disaster recovery payments had been processed since April 14.
“So far, more than $4.5 million has already been provided in Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payments and Disaster Recovery Allowance in declared Local Government Areas,” Mr Jongen said.
“We appreciate people may have more immediate priorities in cleaning up and want to reassure everyone that they won’t miss out on the opportunity to claim.”
Member for Moore Shane Love in Parliament on Thursday asked the Minister for Emergency Services Reece Whitby if the State Government would be seeking category C and D support under the DRFA, which would extend assistance to primary producers and small business owners.
Mr Whitby said these groups of people received some support under the funding arrangements which had been implemented, but State recovery controller Melissa Pexton would continue to negotiate options for further Federal financial assistance.
“We are currently negotiating in terms of those category C arrangements to see what other support may be available,” he said.
“The Prime Minister and the Federal Government are very much engaged in supporting Western Australia and working co-operatively with those funding arrangements.”
Responding to request for a cyclone recovery update from Member for Geraldton Lara Dalton, Mr Whitby said the road to the complete restoration of some Mid West communities would be long.
There is a big challenge for the State for the long-term reconstruction of the Mid West.
Eligible people who have suffered significant losses or whose income has been affected by the cyclone have until October 15 to apply for Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payments and Disaster Recovery Allowance.
The fastest and easiest way to claim is by calling the Services Australia disaster assistance phone line on 180 22 66.
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