21 November 2022

QPRC and Eurobodalla areas made eligible for flood support as wet weather continues

| Claire Fenwicke
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The Morriset Street low level bridge has flooded multiple times in the past few months. Photo: NSW SES Queanbeyan Unit Facebook.

Flood support has been extended to another five NSW council areas as relentless rain continues to wreck havoc across the state.

The local government areas of Eurobodalla, Inverell, Orange, Queanbeyan-Palerang (QPRC) and Wentworth are the latest which can now apply for Disaster Recovery Allowance (DRA).

DRA consists of up to 13 weeks of Federal Government income support for employees and sole traders who experienced a loss of income as a direct result of a major disaster.

QPRC General Manager Rebecca Ryan was pleased more support had been made available for the region, which has experienced six declared flood disaster events since 2020.

“In QPRC, the biggest impact from the flooding has been on our rural communities and in particular the damage to roads both sealed and unsealed caused by the flooding,” she said.

“The damage incurred to public assets and our road network has been enormous.”

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Emergency Management Minister Murray Watt said this meant DRA payments were now available in 75 council areas.

“We aim to bring peace of mind by ensuring regular cash flow for individuals whose income has been directly affected by the floods,” he said.

“We’ve also worked with the NSW Government to provide support for additional local government areas under the DRFA, including for local councils who are facing major repair works.”

Funding has been provided under the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA) between the Federal and NSW Governments, which includes help for eligible people whose homes or belongings have been damaged, support for councils to help with costs of cleaning up and restoring damaged essential public assets, concessional interest rate loans for small businesses, primary producers and non-profit organisations, and freight subsidies for primary producers.

This funding has also been made available for those in the Snowy Monaro and Goulburn areas, which have both previously had a state of natural disaster declared.

Ms Ryan said while QPRC council had received DRFA support, more was needed.

“While we have received vital funding support under the DRFA, we continue to play catch-up on making all these repairs to our road network as damage continues to occur as further high rainfall events are encountered,” she said.

“Under the disaster funding arrangements, these repairs need to be made by contractors and finding suitable qualified contractors continues to be difficult as many other councils are competing for the same resources.”

READ ALSO Fences, roads, bridges, crops: the financial cost of flooding mounts

Meanwhile $1.87 million in NSW Government grants has been secured by QPRC under the 2022-23 Floodplain Management Program.

Local projects which have received funding include:

  • Bungendore Overflow Channel – construction of an overflow channel at Turallo Creek to allow floodwaters to bypass the Tarago Bridge and direct floodwaters away from the Bungendore town centre
  • Captains Flat Flood Warning System – provision of an alert system tied to stream gauges in the Molonglo River to provide advance warning to residents of impending flood events
  • Feasibility Study – into voluntary purchase and/or house raising of eight properties located in the high hazard floodway area along the Queanbeyan River

For those wishing to access the DRA payments, the easiest way to claim is online through myGov, with information about payment eligibility and how to apply on the Service Australia Disaster Events website.

People impacted by flood events can pause or change their Centrelink debt repayments either online, through the Express Plus Centrelink App or by calling 1800 076 072.

For additional support, call the Australian Government Emergency Information Line on 180 22 66.

To apply for a primary producer recovery assistance grant or concessional loan, contact the NSW Rural Assistance Authority on 1800 678 593.

For information on personal hardship and distress assistance, contact Service NSW on 13 77 88.

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