TONY Abbott made his presence felt in Central Queensland yesterday by announcing additional assistance from the Commonwealth for Cyclone Marcia victims.
The Prime Minister said eligible employees, primary producers and sole traders in the Fitzroy and Wide Bay-Burnett districts can now claim the Disaster Recovery Allowance.
"Today I can announce the Australian Disaster Recovery Payments will be extended from the Fitzroy to the Wide Bay Burnett areas and these go to people who have suffered significant damage to property," Mr Abbott said.
"I can also announce that the Disaster Recovery Allowance will be made available to people who are unable to work as a result of this disaster in both the Fitzroy and Wide Bay Burnett districts.
"This is tangible help from our nation to the people of this disaster-struck region."
The Disaster Recovery Allowance is designed to provide a helping hand to those who have lost income as a result of Cyclone Marcia. The allowance also will support local businesses by encouraging the local workforce to remain in the area and be available for employment when businesses recover.
The Disaster Recovery Allowance provides payments to eligible individuals for up to 13 weeks equivalent to the maximum rate of Newstart Allowance or Youth Allowance for eligible Australian residents.
Mr Abbott praised the Central Queensland community for their resilience.
"The people of Rockhampton, Yeppoon, Byfield, Biloela and all the other towns and villages that have been hit by this dreadful cyclone and associated floods need to know that the entire Australian nation feels for them," he said. "We don't just feel for them, we want to do everything we can to help them not just today, not just this week, but in the long and difficult recovery period." The PM said he expected to make further announcements.
Call the Commonwealth Government Information Line on 180 22 66 from 8am to 5pm local time, Monday to Friday.
Individuals and families in the local government areas (LGAs) of Banana, Gladstone, Livingstone, North Burnett and Rockhampton can access personal hardship and distress assistance and essential services safety and reconnection assistance;
Small businesses in the LGAs of Banana, Gympie, Livingstone, North Burnett and Rockhampton can access direct damage concessional loans and essential working capital loans;
Primary producers can access direct damage concessional loans, freight subsidies and essential working capital loans in the LGAs of Banana, Livingstone, North Burnett and Rockhampton;
Non-profit organisations in the LGAs of Banana, Livingstone, North Burnett and Rockhampton can access concessional loan and grant packages;