Disaster assistance available for residents in fire areas
RESIDENTS impacted by the bushfires in the Tenterfield and Clarence Valley Local Government Areas now have access to federal disaster assistance.
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Page MP Kevin Hogan said anyone who has been affected by the recent bushries will be able to apply for the Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA).
"My thoughts are with the families and businesses who've come under threat, some of whom have lost properties too," he said.
"It's a devastating experience, and our hope is that this assistance will ease some of the burden you're now facing.
"These fires have been severe. They've been fuelled by strong winds and have burnt through thousands of hectares of land threatening lives and communities.
"The speed of these fires shows the need for communities to stay vigilant and to have a emergency plan, especially as we try to bring them under control.
"I would also like to thank all of our firefighters and first responders for the tremendous job they have done to keep our communities safe. They acted swiftly and continue to update residents about the ongoing emergency response."
Federal Minister for Natural Disaster and Emergency Management David Littleproud has told the ABC's RN the fire conditions were "exacerbated by the drought".
Mr Littleproud urged residents in areas affected by the bushfires, even where conditions may be easing, to heed all warnings from the authorities.
"We still need to be listening to both Queensland and New South Wales authorities of all the warnings they put out. It's a watch situation at the moment, but as we saw, this can change on a dime and we need to be ready," he said.
Mr Littleproud said they were at the first stage of disaster assistance and authorities would work through further assessments as it becomes safe to do so.
"There's personal assistance as well as for those community groups that are providing assistance in local councils," he said.
"We'll wait for further application from the states and from my discussions with them ... they're working through that as we speak and we'll obviously respect that and act swiftly to make sure we support these communities through this event."
Assistance measures available under the DRFA may include:
- Help for people whose homes or belongings have been damaged,
- Support for affected local councils to help clean up and reconstruction costs,
- Concessional interest rate loans for small businesses, primary producers and non-profit organisations,
- Freight subsidies for primary producers, and
- Financial grants to eligible non-profit organisations.
For information on personal hardship and distress assistance, contact the Disaster Welfare Assistance Line on 1800 018 444 from 8.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday.
To apply for a concessional loan, grant or freight subsidy, contact the NSW Rural Assistance Authority on 1800 678 593 or visit www.raa.nsw.gov.au.
Further information on disaster assistance is at disasterassist.gov.au and the NSW emergency information and response website at emergency.nsw.gov.au