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Byron Shire
February 27, 2021

Flood relief at last for Byron shire

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Billinudgel's main street underwater during the March 31 floods. Photo Jeff Dawson.
Billinudgel’s main street underwater during the March 31 floods. Photo Jeff Dawson.

Aslan Shand

Residents affected by the recent flooding of Cyclone Debbie in the Byron shire should be elated by the news that they are now eligible to apply for a one-off, non-means tested payment of $1,000 for eligible adults and $400 for eligible children.

People eligible for the disaster recovery payment are those who have lost their homes or suffered injury as a result of the disaster.

Minister for Justice Michael Keenan’s office states that ‘These payments will ensure that those who have lost their homes or livelihoods have the additional assistance they need to help them recovery as quickly as possible’. However, it must be recognised that it is now close to four months since Cyclone Debbie hit the north coast and that approval to apply for these payments is in no way timely to help the people who have been trying to get back on their feet since the cyclone.

Tamara Smith, Member for Ballina said:

‘This is great news for many people who have been struggling, and suffering real stress and anxiety over replacing items such as ovens and furniture since the floods. The Disaster Recovery Allowance will also be of benefit to people who can show their income has been directly affected by the floods.

‘It has been unnecessarily stressful making Byron residents wait for so long when Tweed and Lismore residents were told they could apply for these payments months ago. I am glad to see my representations to state government on behalf of Byron shire have finally been successful.’

Disaster recovery allowance

The disaster recovery allowance provides a short-term income support payment to assist individuals who can demonstrate their income has been affected as a direct result of the floods. People eligible for the disaster recovery allowance can access income assistance for up to 13 weeks, equivalent to the maximum rate of newstart allowance or youth allowance.

Parliamentary secretary for the north coast Ben Franklin also welcomed the activation of the Commonwealth’s disaster recovery payment and the disaster recovery allowance for eligible disaster affected residents in the Byron shire.

Mr Franklin thanked the federal justice minister Michael Keenan for supporting local communities following tropical Cyclone Debbie, and for listening to and analysing the hard work of the Byron shire council in the wake of the devastating floods.

Equivalent financial assistance will also be available to eligible New Zealand citizens (non-protected Special Category Visa, subclass 444 holders) who were affected by the floods in Byron.

The easiest way to lodge a claim for the Australian Government’s disaster recovery payments is by calling the Australian Government Emergency Information Line on 180 22 66 between 8am and 7pm, Monday to Friday and between 8am and 5pm, Saturday to Sunday, or here. 

Completed claim forms can also be lodged in person at an Australian Department of Human Services service centre, agent or access point.

The Australian Government assistance being announced today is over and above the support already being provided under the jointly funded commonwealth-state natural disaster relief and recovery arrangements.

Further information on Australian Government assistance is available online here

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  1. If i was an effect local Id Grab it as soon as possible before they change their minds Your Taxes and rates should cover you for these payments caused by natural disasters

  2. As Johnny Cash would sing “How high is the water Momma? Well, it is 5 feet high and rising” as Debbie in her cyclonic anger and smug look blew it and threw things about and she would just dump more rain down before she would up her stumps and leave in her huff. Boy did it rain?
    The townsfolk were elated when the sun came out and this Debbie, God’s daughter in a cloud left leaving all things damp and wet. It was a wet week and there were plenty of wet blankets with looks and scowls to match and people grabbed anything that would float while their homes were under water, all soggy like and soaking.
    How high is the water Momma, I have not seen my feet for a week and I think I have found another leak. Where is that Johnny? What is his last name?
    “Cash” that’s right. We need a new home with this here $1000.


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