Cabinet pushes for higher flood assistance

Published Tuesday, 05 February, 2013 at 11:31 AM


Treasurer and Minister for Trade
The Honourable Tim Nicholls

Minister for Local Government, Community Recovery and Resilience
The Honourable David Crisafulli

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
The Honourable John McVeigh

State Cabinet has resolved to seek higher support for farmers and small businesses in the worst flood-hit areas of Bundaberg, North Burnett, Lockyer Valley and Scenic Rim regions.

The Newman Government will urge the Prime Minister to give those council areas ‘Category D’ support, the highest available under the National Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA).

Category D support would provide farmers and business owners with technical and professional assistance for developing business recovery plans, and assistance to retain their local workers for work such as clean up and fence repair in the agriculture, fisheries and forestry sector.

Treasurer Tim Nicholls said the Queensland Government would also call on the Federal Government to introduce the Disaster Income Recovery Subsidy and the Wage Assistance programs through Centrelink to help speed up local recovery. 

“We need to give our farmers and small businesses real support that will help them back on their feet,” Mr Nicholls said.

“We have already asked for category C funding, but sadly the Prime Minister did not yet believe all of those areas deserve it and left Scenic Rim residents going without.

“Anyone who has visited any of those regions would see in an instant how urgently the money is required.

“I toured the Gladstone and Wide Bay regions last week and the damage to farms, businesses, homes, roads and bridges is enormous.

“We are hastily trying to tick off all the requirements the Federal Government has placed upon us, but these regions don’t need paperwork, they need real money and they need it now.

“So, we are also asking for exceptional disaster grants and loans under Category D of the NDRRA for the worst affected primary producers and businesses, at concessional interest rates.

“It’s going to take a long time, a tremendous effort and a lot of money to get life back to anywhere near normal in these towns and regions.”

Minister for Local Government, Community Recovery and Resilience David Crisafulli said the State was working to give councils the opportunity to become more prepared in the future and wanted help from the Commonwealth to do it.

“We’re not going to send good money after bad and keep rebuilding for the short term,” Mr Crisafulli said.

“Initial costs may be higher for different, stronger infrastructure, but it will save money in the long term if we stop putting up structures that will be flattened in the next big storm or flood.”

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry John McVeigh said the Newman Government was determined to support Queensland farmers and rural businesses which were the backbone of regional Queensland.

“We welcome the decision by the Prime Minister to agree to Category C support for the Bundaberg, North Burnett, Lockyer, Fraser Coast and Gympie Regional Council areas," Mr McVeigh.

“But other areas have been severely impacted as well including the Scenic Rim Regional Council area.

“These areas have been so badly hit, they will need Category D assistance and we’ll be working with local farmers, business owners and councils to look at all cases of damage and hardship.”

[ENDS] 5 February 2013                                                       

Media Contacts: Treasurer's Office – 3224 6900

Monica Rostron (Minister Crisafulli) – 0415 494 834

Lachlan Millar (Minister McVeigh) – 0407 394 580