Flooding in Dawson Street, Lismore.
Flooding in Dawson Street, Lismore. contributed Emily Parker

Financial support flows for flood-affected homes, businesses

NEW figures have revealed more than $15 million has been given to people and businesses across the Northern Rivers to help after the March floods.

The Office of Emergency Management released the information six months after the natural disaster.

So far the NSW Government has provided disaster welfare payments to 2406 people on the Northern Rivers, including household and structural grants and immediate assistance. That's a total of $2.8 million.

Primary producers in the region have received $2.2 million, with 185 applications for assistance now approved.

More than 530 applications from small businesses have received the green light, providing $7.3 million.

Not-for-proft organisations have received $300,000, while 20 concessional loans have been approved, totalling $1.8 million.

Grants worth a total of $500,000 have also been approved for medium to large businesses.

According to the Office of Emergency Management, the total spend as at September 24 stands at $15.074 million.

But that's not all the recovery work that has been done in the past six months.

A spokesman from the Office of Emergency Management said $2.1 million had been allocated for a Community Recovery Fund, jointly funded by the Federal and NSW governments.

"It is designed to provide ongoing and practical support to Northern Rivers communities affected by the floods,” he said.

"It will be delivered across the six impacted LGAs to strengthen the social and economic recovery of individuals, businesses and community organisations.

"Six program components include community engagement activities, mental health training and support, disaster resilience capacity building and regional marketing and tourism promotion.

"A working group will monitor project activities, provide a forum for discussion, report on progress and strengthen links between projects, people and organisations.”

Two community development officers - one will start work this month and the second in October - will work across the LGAs and coordinate activities.

A regional tourism campaign has also been launched for the Northern Rivers, aiming to spread the message that the area is "open for business”.

Destination NSW has already delivered cooperative marketing campaigns with Webjet and Stayz websites. A digital campaign featuring paid social and search is continuing until November.

A travel video is airing to millions of potential travellers across Australia and New Zealand this month on National Geographic's television and online channels, highlighting the North Coast's beaches, food, wine and accommodation.

Other recovery assistance provided:

Recovery Centres: 1202 households assisted in Lismore; 1407 households assisted in Murwillumbah

Evacuation Centres: 10 centres opened during floods to provide immediate shelter and accommodation for about 1300 people. Seventy people requiring longer term housing solutions were also assisted

Disaster welfare outreach: 53 additional case workers deployed, more than 1200 home visits conducted

Business assistance: $1 million from the Community Recovery Fund will be allocated to local councils and business chambers to support business recovery

Housing and homelessness: $12 million invested to increase housing in Northern NSW, including for those made homeless by the floods. Includes $2 million of rental subsidies to headlease properties for up to three years to those who have lost or cannot safely return to their homes

Mental Health Support: Free dedicated mental health telephone referral service established. Phone 1300 137 934. It will operate until at least December

Motor vehicle assistance: Stamp duty refunds for replacement vehicles (Office of State Revenue); free replacement of licenses and certificates (Services NSW)

Waste removal and disposal assistance: Clean up of green waste and debris from residential properties; fees waived for waste disposal

Regional Recovery Committees: Now meeting every month, and the 14th meeting will be held in Lismore on Friday, October 6.



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