Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Coffs Harbour floods

The Australian Government will work with the Coffs Harbour and Bellingen Shire Councils and local people to identify any gaps in flood assistance for residents affected by floods in the region in March and April 2009.

The Attorney-General, Robert McClelland, has written to Coffs Harbour City Council Mayor, Keith Rhoades, and the Mayor of Bellingen Shire Council, Mark Troy asking them to supply information about any significant gaps in assistance or insurance coverage arising from damage sustained as a result of the floods.

Assistance already provided under the Natural Disaster Recovery Relief Arrangements (NDRRA) will be taken into account.

The Minister for Community Services, Jenny Macklin and Mr McClelland met the region’s Mayors on 19 August to discuss the relief and recovery efforts following the floods in March and April 2009.

At this meeting, they agreed to provide the Attorney-General with further details of possible gaps in assistance.

Coffs Harbour and Bellingen Shire Council are now surveying local residents affected by the floods, to gather information about their particular circumstances, including the assistance they have received through NDRRA and insurance and the ongoing consequences of the floods.

If gaps are identified, the Australian Government will work with State and Local Governments and the flood-affected communities on options for future action.

The details of the Australian Government’s agreement to work with the Coffs Harbour and Bellingen Shire Councils and local residents is outlined in the response we have made to a petition signed by local residents.

People in the region have received NDRRA assistance in the form of personal hardship and distress payments of around $590,000, and small business and primary producers received more than $2 million in clean up and recovery grants.

This included funding for immediate hardship payments, reimbursement for essential household items and grants for repairs to homes.

Concessional loans for small businesses, primary producers and voluntary not-for-profit organisations, as well as road and rail freight subsidies and clean-up and recovery grants were also available.

NDRRA measures are delivered by the States and Territories, and the Commonwealth reimburses the State or Territory Government 50 or 75 per cent of expenditure on eligible items.