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    Media Statements

    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Premier and Minister for Trade
    The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk

    Recovery continuing in Queensland’s flood affected communities

    Premier and Minister for Trade
    The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk

    Thursday, February 21, 2019

    Recovery continuing in Queensland’s flood affected communities

    The overwhelming support for Queensland’s flood affected communities continues with donations to the North Queensland Floods Appeal reaching more than $6.7 million in the two weeks since it was launched.

    $13.9 million in government grants has also gone to 71,000 people for Emergency Hardship Assistance.

    The Premier, who has spent the last couple of days inspecting recovery efforts in the north and north west, thanked people for their generous donations and encouraged others who were thinking of helping to dig deep.

    “The flood waters may be gone in most parts, what I’ve heard from speaking with people in these communities who were badly impacted is that they’re hurting, they will be dealing with this disaster for a long time to come,” the Premier said.

    “We’re doing all we can to help, and I’m thankful for the community’s support as well. We’re all in this together and we’re in it for the long haul.”

    The Premier was joined by Agricultural Industry Development Mark Furner, State Recovery Coordinator Major-General Stuart Smith and QFES Commissioner Katarina Carroll in Julia Creek and also Communities Minister and Mundingburra MP Coralee O’Rourke and State Development Minister Cameron Dick in Townsville.

    “Recovery is progressing but there is lots more work that needs to be done,” the Premier said.

    “I know Major General Stuart Smith has been out and about in communities seeing first-hand how recovery efforts are going and what more is needed.

    “We’re maintaining a strong focus on helping communities affected by flooding recover.

    “This includes making sure people have a roof over their head, they are receiving the mental health support they need and we’re starting the process of rebuilding infrastructure.

    “There are more than 730 staff working on community recovery statewide.”

    State Recovery Coordinator Major General Smith said in the past seven days he had conducted comprehensive visits and liaison with disaster affected communities and local leaders in Townsville and Western Queensland.

    “I have been highly impressed with their leadership during the response to the disaster and the work of the emergency services, police and Australian Defence Force,” Major General Smith said.

    “It’s clear to me that the first priority for recovery is looking after the safety and wellbeing of people and we have already begun this process through the establishment of Community Recovery Hubs, a one-stop-shop for people to access funding assistance and grants and to connect with other assistance.

    “I have established myself in Townsville with a Deputy State Recovery Coordinator, Queensland Police Superintendent Mark Plath, and support staff from the Queensland Reconstruction Authority and will remain directly responsive to local leaders as we now plan the long-term recovery.

    “There will be different priorities for all of the impacted communities and it’s important we support each of them on their road to recovery.

    “It’s vitally important people affected by the flooding know there is support available to them and that they access that assistance.”

    To date, the State Recovery Coordinator has visited Townsville, Hinchinbrook, Palm Island, Burdekin, Mt Isa, Cloncurry, Richmond and Flinders council areas.

    Community assistance

    71,000 people have benefitted from more than $13.9 million in Emergency Hardship Assistance payments.

    North Queensland Floods Appeal charities have received more than $6.7 million in donations.

    GIVIT has helped facilitate the donation of more than 100,000 items to community members.

    Donate through The Australian Red Cross Society, UnitingCare, Salvation Army and St Vincent de Paul Society Queensland and GIVIT. There are many ways you can help, visit www.qld.gov.au/disasterrecovery to find out more.

    A number of community recovery hubs are open in affected areas. Visit www.qld.gov.au/disasterrecovery or call the Community Recovery Hotline on 1800 173 349 for the latest information.

    Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA) support

    Personal Hardship Assistance Scheme

    • The Personal Hardship Assistance Scheme is available for up to $180 per person, to a maximum of $900 for a family of five or more, for people experiencing genuine financial hardship because of the disaster.

    Essential Services Safety and Reconnection Scheme (ESSRS)

    • The Essential Services Safety and Reconnection Scheme (ESSRS) are income tested grants with two components:
    • To quality for this assistance under the income test, applicants must live in a disaster affected area where this grant is activated, be the owner or mortgagee of the home or be uninsured or unable to claim insurance to replace or repair household contents.
      • Up to $200 towards a safety inspection for each essential service needing reconnection (electricity, gas, water and sewerage or septic system)
      • Up to $4200 towards repair work to enable essential services to be reconnected (for example, electrical rewiring).

    Small Business and Non-Profits Grants

    • Applications for Special Disaster Assistance Recovery Grants up to a maximum of $25,000 are available to assist small businesses and non-profits to assist with clean-up and reinstatement costs.

    Primary Producer Grants

    • Applications for Special Disaster Assistance Recovery Grants up to a maximum of $75,000 are available to assist eligible primary producers to assist with clean-up and reinstatement costs.

    Other Financial Support

    • Grants of up to $20 000 are available to sporting clubs to help re-establish facilities and infrastructure, clean up fields and clubhouses and replace damage equipment and cover excess insurance costs.

    Mental health assistance

    Queensland Health has developed a dedicated Mental Health Recovery Plan and is working with Royal Flying Doctor Service to provide mental health support to communities in Western Queensland.

    You can seek help from Lifeline (13 11 14) or by calling the Mental health access line on 1300 MH CALL (1300 642 255) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

    For mental health support for babies and young children, visit www.childrens.health.qld.gov.au.

    There is free telephone counselling for anyone affected through the NQ Connect helpline. The helpline will operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on phone 1300 059 625 and will connect callers directly to mental health clinicians.

    Volunteering

    Volunteers should register at www.emergencyvolunteering.com.au.

    ENDS

    Media contact: Zoe Russell – 0439 982 347