It’s been a long week of wild and wet weather across Australia, with parts of Queensland receiving unprecedented levels of rainfall.
Major flood warnings have been issued for Gympie, Brisbane, Ipswich, Lismore, and Grafton as more than 400mm of rain fell across already soaked regions in the south-east of the state.
Seven people have been confirmed to have lost their lives in the flooding, including an SES volunteer, while two others are reported as missing. It’s the worst flooding the state has seen in over a decade, with rivers in Lismore and Ipswich already many metres above their highest ever levels in recorded history.
Thousands are without power, and some without fresh water, as Queenslanders in affected areas are being urged to conserve drinking water and avoid all non-essential travel.
Thankfully, there is support available to those who have found themselves with more water than they would normally like in their houses. Here’s how you can get help.
Commonwealth Disaster Recovery Payment
Queenslanders in communities impacted by the unfolding flooding can apply for Commonwealth financial support from Monday 28 February.
The government has activated Disaster Recovery Payments of $1000 per eligible adult and $400 per eligible child to support people affected since 22 February.
The Disaster Recovery Payment is a one-off, non-means-tested payment and is available to people in those affected local government areas who have suffered a significant loss, including a severely damaged or destroyed home or serious injury.
In order to apply for the payment, you need to live in one of the following 17 LGAs:
Brisbane, Fraser Coast, Gold Coast, Gympie, Ipswich, Lockyer Valley, Logan, Moreton Bay, Noosa, North Burnett, Redland, Scenic Rim, Somerset, South Burnett, Southern Downs, Sunshine Coast, or Toowoomba.
Eligible Queenslanders in any of these local government areas can claim support via myGov or by calling Services Australia on 180 22 66 from 1pm time today.
Disaster Recovery Allowance
In addition to the Disaster Recovery Payments, Disaster Recovery Allowance (DRA) is also being provided to those in the affected local government areas of Gympie and north Burnett.
The DRA assists employees, small business owners, and farmers who experience a loss of income as a direct result of a major disaster.
If this is you, you could be eligible for a maximum of 13 weeks payment from the date you have or will have a loss of income as a direct result of a disaster.
Additional areas are likely to be added to this payment scheme as further flood damage occurs.
Additional Flood Support
As well as the above grants and payments, additional support measures are also available to those affected by the flooding.
Those in Gympie and north Burnett can now claim Personal Hardship Assistance of $180 per person, up to a maximum of $900 per family.
There are also many other grants available in the form of Emergency Hardship Assistance, Essential Services Hardship Assistance, Essential Household Contents grants, Structural Assistance grants, Essential Services Safety and Reconnection grants, as well as Transport and Motoring Assistance.
If this is all a bit overwhelming right now, the best thing to do would be to call the community recovery hotline on 1800 173 349 and they will be able to direct you to the types of grants you’re eligible for as well as help you apply for them.
Remember, grants are backdated to the time of impact and will be available to apply for months to come, so you don’t need to jump on everything now.
You can also download the Queensland Self Recovery App which has information and assistance on getting support as well.
If you’re in immediate danger, call 000 for help. If the danger is not life-threatening, call the SES on 132 500.
The Queensland and federal governments have said that they are closely monitoring the situation as it unfolds and expect to enable and facilitate further financial support and payments in the coming weeks.