WA premier, PM to discuss Seroja relief

Michael RamseyAAP
VideoMore than 29,000 people in WA’s Mid West are without power and telecommunications due to the devastation caused by Cyclone Seroja

Premier Mark McGowan will use the prime minister’s visit to Western Australia to discuss financial assistance for people affected by Tropical Cyclone Seroja.

Scott Morrison was due to arrive on Tuesday night for his first trip to WA in 18 months.

It is expected to span several days and include a visit to the regions after Mr Morrison addresses business leaders in Perth on Wednesday.

A combined state and federal disaster relief package for communities battered by Seroja is yet to be finalised but is expected to exceed the $18 million spent on the Wooroloo bushfires which destroyed 86 homes near Perth in February.

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Camera IconHomes were flattened when Tropical Cyclone Seroja hit. 7 News Credit: Supplied

Mr McGowan said he had been in regular contact with the prime minister as authorities continued to assess the damage.

“I want to work constructively. I want to make sure we maximise the support for these communities,” the premier said.

“It’s not a time for politics.”

Power was yet to be restored to about 29,500 homes and businesses late on Tuesday.

Cyclone damage in Kalbarri
Camera IconPopular WA tourist spot Kalbarri took the brunt of Seroja, with many properties badly damaged. Credit: AAP

Western Power said there were outages across the Midwest and Central Wheatbelt in an area spanning more than 700km long and 150km wide.

About 130 poles have been damaged on the transmission side of the network alone.

“We’re working steadily to restore power but anticipate that some affected areas will be without power for weeks,” the utility said.

“We’re working alongside emergency services and other state government agencies to ensure the community has safe access to power as soon as possible.”

The aftermath of Seroja in Kalbarri
Camera IconThe prime minister and WA premier will discuss disaster relief for cyclone-battered communities. Credit: AAP

The transmission line that feeds Geraldton is expected to be energised on Wednesday, allowing the utility to restore power to about 20,000 homes and businesses in the area.

But “significant” repair work is needed in towns north of Geraldton including Kalbarri, Northampton, Horrocks and Port Gregory before power can be restored there.

The premier and key emergency services personnel toured affected regions on Tuesday, including the epicentre of Kalbarri.

Up to 70 per cent of properties in the popular coastal tourist town, 580 kilometres north of Perth, are thought to have been damaged by the cyclone which hit late on Sunday as a category three storm with winds up to 170km/h.

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