Acting Prime Minister and Treasurer Wayne Swan, Queensland Premier Anna Bligh and the Minister Assisting the Attorney-General on Queensland Floods Recovery, Joe Ludwig, today announced further measures to assist communities and businesses devastated by Cyclone Yasi.
The package has been developed in conjunction with affected communities and is jointly funded by the Commonwealth and Queensland Governments.
The new assistance measures reflect the exceptional nature of the damage in Far North Queensland and are targeted at the hardest hit areas, Cassowary Coast, Hinchinbrook and parts of the Tablelands.
The Commonwealth has activated Category D of the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements and other new measures, including:
The Federal Government has also agreed to activate NDRRA Category C clean-up and recovery grants of up to $25,000 for eligible small businesses and primary producers in the local government areas of Burdekin, Cairns, Cassowary Coast, Hinchinbrook, Palm Island, Tablelands, Townsville and Yarrabah.
It is too early to estimate the cost of rebuilding infrastructure but the measures announced today, together with payments under the AGDRP, are expected to deliver in the order of $400 million of assistance for the cyclone-affected communities.
This is a specific package designed to address the unique issues faced by Far North Queensland communities recovering from this disaster.
The region faces significant economic challenges over the coming months because of its reliance on a few key industries, such as sugar and bananas, which will take many months to recover.
The Far North's distance from major centres also means there are limited alternative sources of employment. The Government aims to prevent communities from being hollowed out before the recovery is fully underway.
The package of measures will help local economies rebuild so that people can continue working and businesses can keep their doors open.
The new measures announced today will build on the assistance that has already been rolled out to support cyclone-affected regions, as well as a broader range of flood-affected areas:
More information about the assistance can be found at www.disasterassist.gov.au
16 February 2011