The Albanese Government has delivered almost $18 million in disaster assistance payments directly to people significantly impacted by ex-Tropical Cyclone Jasper in Far North Queensland.
This includes more than 15,300 claims for the Australian Government Disaster Payment (AGDRP) and the Disaster Recovery Allowance (DRA).
AGDRP is a payment of $1,000 for eligible adults and $400 for eligible children who have been significantly impacted by the floods.
DRA provides up to 13 weeks of income support to assist eligible employees and sole traders who have experienced a loss of income as a direct result of a major disaster.
Both payments were activated by the Albanese Government for impacted people who live and work in the Cairns, Cassowary Coast, Cook, Douglas, Hope Vale, Mareeba, Tablelands, Wujal Wujal and Yarrabah Local Government Areas (LGAs).
Affected people can check their eligibility on the Services Australia website, and the easiest way to claim a payment is online through myGov.
If people need help to claim, they can call the Australian Government Emergency information line on 180 22 66 between 8am and 5pm, Monday to Friday. If they want to speak to someone in their language, they can also call the Centrelink multilingual phone service on 131 202.
Twenty Services Australia staff have been deployed to cyclone affected areas including Mossman, Machans Beach, Holloways Beach, Cooktown, Daintree, Wonga Beach, Tully, Degarra and Manunda, and are working on the ground alongside other support agencies to help people access payments and services.
Mobile Service Centre ‘Desert Rose’ has also been redirected to provide support to people in Mossman from Thursday 28 December. Staff on board can assist people to claim disaster assistance and refer them to local support services.
In addition to this direct support to affected individuals, the estimated $64 million announced last week by the Federal and Queensland governments will assist the tourism industry, farmers, small businesses and not-for-profits to support the recovery and resilience of Far North Queensland communities impacted by Ex-Tropical Cyclone Jasper.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Government Services, Bill Shorten:
“While the flood waters are receding, recovery will be a much longer process.
“Supporting impacted individuals in communities through crisis is what Services Australia is geared to do. Services Australia staff are well practiced in standing up and supporting Australians during times of emergency.
“They are providing financial support to impacted North Queenslanders as quickly as possible, with almost $18 million already reaching those affected.
“Services Australia staff are also on the ground in affected communities providing face-to-face support.
“I encourage those in the impacted areas to check their eligibility for disaster assistance available through the Services Australia website.
“Australian Government Disaster Payments are available for children and adults who are seriously affected because of the declared disaster, including by major damage to their home or major assets. Payments are also available to people who have been seriously injured in the disaster or are the immediate family of someone missing or killed.
“Disaster Recovery Allowance is available to people from disaster impacted areas who have lost some or all of their income as a direct result of the disaster.
“If you can’t get online or you need help with a claim, Services Australia staff are available to assist. You can call 180 22 66 to speak with a staff member.”
Quotes attributable to Minister for Emergency Management, Murray Watt:
“It’s great to see assistance rolling out fast and hitting bank accounts in FNQ where it can start to make a difference.
“This support will help more than 15,000 people to cover their regular bills and assist with short-term costs incurred as a result of the disaster.
“It’s in addition to the Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangement hardship payments, which are also moving quickly.”
*Updated 29 December 2023.