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Aussie Battler’s battle to stay open after Marcia's wrath

Trevor Wooderson from Aussie Battler Removals is calling for greater government support for small businesses in the wake of Cyclone Marcia. Photo: Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin
Trevor Wooderson from Aussie Battler Removals is calling for greater government support for small businesses in the wake of Cyclone Marcia. Photo: Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin Chris Ison

WHEN Trevor Wooderson and his Aussie Battler Removals staff travel away for a long-haul job, they can't afford to hire a hotel room so they sleep in the back of the truck.

Mr Wooderson was still getting back on his feet from the 2012 floods when Cyclone Marcia delivered another financial blow but this time he doesn't know if he can recover.

Joint Commonwealth-State disaster assistance was on Friday announced for eligible small businesses and non-profit organisations in Livingstone and Rockhampton under Category C of the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements.

The assistance includes access to grants of up to $25,000 to help with clean-up and recovery efforts for damage sustained by Cyclone Marcia, as well as the rainfall and flooding.

The assistance can also be used to help replace stock.

But Mr Wooderson said red tape made claiming assistance almost impossible.

"The grants are good to no one whose business hasn't literally been damaged structurally, even though we've been damaged financially," Mr Wooderson said.

"They have such strict criteria that there is no help for us. We need the right help."

Mr Wooderson said he couldn't understand how the government could be so quick to help other countries in need ahead of their own.

"Cyclone Pam went through Vanuatu and straight away there's $5m for Vanuatu; which is good to keep things going in other countries but the people and small businesses here are falling over," he said

"I can't understand how any government can give out $5m no questions asked to another country but can't look after about their own economy.

"Small business is the backbone of Australia. It's only because of sheer persistence and stubbornness that we're still open."

Federal Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry said under the Commonwealth-State agreement, the criteria and eligibility rules for assistance will be determined and administered by the Queensland government and it would be the state's responsibility to ensure help is directly handed out to local businesses that need it.

To apply contact QRAA on 1800 623 946 or online at www.qraa.qld.gov.au.

Information can be found at www.disaster.qld.gov.au and www.disasterassist.gov.au

Topics:  cyclone marcia federal government funding



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