Media Release by The Hon John Cobb MP

Progress on Assistance following Cyclone Larry

The Minister for Community Services, John Cobb, today met with Centrelink staff in Innisfail, thanking them for the help they have given to people in the region following the devastation of Tropical Cyclone Larry.

‘Centrelink staff have been helping people to apply for assistance payments, ensuring claims are processed quickly, with over $87.2 million in Australian Government payments already being paid,’ Mr Cobb said.

‘Without their dedication to assist others, many people in the region may well be still waiting for assistance.

‘As a result of the outstanding work of Centrelink staff and the resilience of the local community, residents and businesses in North Queensland have been able unite and get on with the job of rebuilding their community.

‘Staff have already processed and paid over 37 000 claims, totalling more than $36 million in ex gratia payments of $1000 per adult and $400 per child for people who’s principal place of residence was destroyed or made inaccessible for more than two weeks.

‘In addition, 1600 claims for income support have been processed from farmers and other businesses adversely affected, providing over $1.56 million to assist them in paying their day to day bills.

‘A further 4500 claims from farmers and other businesses have been processed, enabling a further $47.8 million to be distributed, assisting them with restocking and the reestablishment of their business.

Mr Cobb wanted to ensure that local producers, so heavily impacted by the cyclone, were aware and able to access Commonwealth assistance available to them. With drought conditions in my own electorate in western NSW, I know that primary producers are sometimes reluctant to access government assistance. I stressed to local producers at Babinda and Boogan that the Australian Government was ready willing and able to help them.

‘As power has yet to be restored to many areas, the Australian Government is also providing a fuel subsidy program, with over $1.78 million already paid to businesses and households generating their own electricity.

‘While the Australian Government has made a contribution to the initial disaster relief effort, we are also committed to the long term recovery needs of the communities and individuals,’ Mr Cobb said.

The Australian Government is working side by side with the Queensland Government, local governments in North Queensland and community organisations to help people affected by Tropical Cyclone Larry.

Minister Cobb also took the opportunity to meet with General Peter Cosgrove on the progress of assistance to those people affected by Tropical Cyclone Larry and to discuss the rebuilding efforts.

Related information
Disaster Assist website