The federal government will begin rolling out a Disaster Recovery Payment to NSW residents impacted by the latest round of devastating floods.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced on Wednesday (6 July) that $1,000 per eligible adult and $400 per eligible child had been allocated for residents in 23 local government areas.
The funds are intended to help those whose homes have sustained severe damage or who have experienced a significant injury due to rising floodwaters along the east coast of NSW and in metropolitan Sydney.
The assistance will be available in the local government areas of Blacktown, Blue Mountains, Camden, Canterbury-Bankstown, Campbelltown, Central Coast, Cessnock, Fairfield, Georges River, Hawkesbury, Hornsby, Kiama, Lithgow, Liverpool, Northern Beaches, Penrith, Shellharbour, Shoalhaven, Sutherland, The Hills, Wingecarribee, Wollondilly and Wollongong.
Residents of these municipalities can begin applying for the funding from 2pm on 7 July, via Services Australia or by calling the Australian government emergency information line on 180 22 66.
During a joint press conference with the NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet to announce the disaster support, Mr Albanese said he believed “this is the quickest these payments have ever been approved”.
He noted that the funding would be made in addition to the joint state and commonwealth support measures that were already in place.
The government is also making the Disaster Recovery Allowance available to employees and sole traders in the 23 LGAs who experience a loss of income as a direct result of this latest disaster. A maximum of 13 weeks of payments can be collected by eligible workers.
Mr Albanese noted the ongoing challenges being faced by residents in the flooded areas, given this was not the first time many were dealing with property damage due to flooding or other natural disasters.
“It’s heartbreaking to think that for many people, this is the third or fourth time in 18 months that their lives have been disrupted by a natural disaster of this magnitude.
“Over the last few years our resilience has been tested time and time again, and many people are doing it tough.
“I want everyone in a flood-affected region to know that the commonwealth stands ready and committed to provide support now and through the recovery,” he said.
Responding to the question of what plans the government was making to improve the infrastructure of these areas to safeguard against the threat of flooding, Mr Albanese said that he was currently focusing on “[getting] through the immediate crisis”.
“That is what we need to do. And then we need to examine any policy response that is required,” he said.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Based in Sydney, Juliet Helmke has a broad range of reporting and editorial experience across the areas of business, technology, entertainment and the arts. She was formerly Senior Editor at The New York Observer.