Sigh of relief after news of food vouchers for residents

Kathleen Heslin and her daughter Abby Jones, age 2, found out they weren t eligible for the disaster relief payment following Cyclone Marcia. Photo Sharyn O'Neill / Morning Bulletin
Kathleen Heslin and her daughter Abby Jones, age 2, found out they weren t eligible for the disaster relief payment following Cyclone Marcia. Photo Sharyn O'Neill / Morning Bulletin Sharyn O'Neill

THERE was a collective sigh of relief from many residents yesterday after learning they would receive up to $1000 in food vouchers to compensate for losing power.

But the additional assistance only applies to those without power for a week or more and left others wondering, "What about me?"

After posting the announcement on The Morning Bulletin's Facebook page, there were 80 comments after only 10 minutes and more than 250 a couple of hours later.

Most people were grateful for the extra help but there was a general feeling that families who had lost power for a few days had suffered just as much financially.

Up to $1000 per household is available from today in the local government areas of Rockhampton, Livingstone, North Burnett, Banana and Gladstone.

Some residents in Isaac Shire were without power for eight days but appeared to have been overlooked.

State Communities Minister Shannon Fentiman said she was unaware of the Isaac situation when The Morning Bulletin approached her and assured residents there that she hoped to have assistance for affected areas signed off by today.

Deputy Premier Jackie Trad said she had seen first-hand how tough people were finding it to make ends meet.

"This extra assistance, in the form of food vouchers, will allow those still struggling without power to buy food, water, nappies and other basic essentials," she said.

Anger is still surfacing over difficulties accessing the state government's $180 hardship payment with people lining for hours only to be told they didn't qualify.

Ms Fentiman said last week had been tough and now that less accommodation was required for emergency services workers, more people would arrive this week to help with the backlog.

She said in a rapidly changing environment and without power and mobile phone connection, it had been incredibly difficult to get information to the people.

"More and more people are coming online now and things will be more efficient this week," she said.

"If people are in immediate hardship, assistance is available."

"We now have a third hub at the Rockhampton Showgrounds and there are 25 teams doorknocking in smaller communities.

"We're monitoring numbers closely in Yeppoon to see if we need another one there and an outreach team is based at Byfield."

Who's eligible?

$180 for individuals and up to $900 for families in immediate hardship who were directly impacted by the cyclone by physical damage, loss of essential contents or be isolated for more than 48 hours.

This grant is not means tested and does not include loss of power.

Up to $1000 in food vouchers per family for people who were without power for seven days or more.

Community Recovery Hotline 1800 173 349.


Topics:  cyclone marcia electricity food vouchers natural disaster relief

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