The Australian Government is unreservedly committed to supporting communities affected by natural disasters – we always have and always will.
Minister for Defence Marise Payne and Minister for Justice Michael Keenan travelled to Queensland today to meet with Australian Defence Force personnel who are providing support for communities devastated by Tropical Cyclone Debbie.
Accompanied by Chief of the Defence Force Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin, the Ministers met with community representatives and saw first-hand the recovery efforts underway in Proserpine and Airlie Beach.
Minister Payne said the Australian Defence Force (ADF) is providing humanitarian assistance and disaster relief across the affected regions, with approximately 1,600 ADF personnel assigned to Operation Queensland Assist 17.
“ADF personnel have helped clear roads, ports and beaches, deliver medical personnel and supplies into cut off areas, assess damage from the air and sea, and distribute water,” Senator Payne said.
“HMAS Choules arrived in the Whitsundays late Friday night and delivered much needed emergency stores and equipment to those communities over the weekend.”
Minister Keenan said nature had flung its worst at us this week and the emergency response is not over yet. Even the most resilient community was going to reel under destruction, rain and flooding of this magnitude.
“I was proud to witness the positive spirit of local residents and community camaraderie despite the hardship they have endured,” Mr Keenan said.
“People from all parts of the community have pitched into the recovery efforts, supported by emergency services personnel and the hardworking men and women from the ADF, who have done a heroic job in assisting those in need.”
The Australian Government is continuing to provide support to the emergency effort.
To help the affected communities get back on their feet, assistance has been made available under the jointly funded Commonwealth-State Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA).
The Australian Government has also activated both the Disaster Recovery Payment and the Disaster Recovery Allowance for eligible residents in the Whitsunday local government area.
The Disaster Recovery Payment (DRP) provides a one-off, non-means tested recovery payment of $1,000 for eligible adults and $400 for eligible children. It is generally available for people who have been seriously injured or whose home has been destroyed or suffered significant damage.
The Disaster Recovery Allowance (DRA) is a short-term income support payment to assist individuals who can demonstrate that their income has been affected as a direct result of the disaster.
The Australian Government will continue to monitor the impacts of Tropical Cyclone Debbie and liaise with the Queensland State Government regarding recovery assistance.
Henry Budd 0429 531 143 (Minister Payne)
Danielle McKay 0438 390 273 or Shannen Wilkinson 0476 820 816 (Minister Keenan)