Extended disaster assistance and insurance forums for Townsville

Additional disaster assistance is now available for small businesses in six north-west Queensland flood-impacted communities, and affected individuals and families.

Eligible small business owners in Burke, Carpentaria, Charters Towers, Croydon, Etheridge and Winton can now access disaster assistance loans of up to $250,000 to repair or replace damaged buildings, equipment or stock and concessional loans of up to $100,000 to continue business operations. In addition, communities in Carpentaria and the township of Winton are able to access emergency hardship assistance payments of up to $180 for individuals and up to $900 for a family of five or more for food, clothing, emergency accommodation or medical supplies.”

A range of DRFA assistance is now available in 35 local government areas in northern and western Queensland: Barcoo, Boulia, Burdekin, Burke, Cairns, Carpentaria, Cassowary Coast, Charters Towers, Cloncurry, Cook, Croydon, Diamantina, Douglas, Etheridge, Flinders, Hinchinbrook, Hope Vale, Kowanyama, Lockhart River, Longreach, Mackay, Mareeba, McKinlay, Mornington, Mount Isa, Palm Island, Pormpuraaw, Richmond, Torres Strait Island, Torres Shire, Townsville, Whitsunday, Winton, Wujal Wujal and Yarrabah.

Insurers have so far received more than 21,500 claims, with insurance losses estimated at $886 million from the catastrophe. Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) spokesperson Campbell Fuller said, “Insurers recognise these catastrophes cause emotional and financial trauma for many in the community, and are doing all they can to help policyholders to get back into their homes and businesses quickly.”

At an ICA forum in Townsville on Monday 25 February, policyholders had the opportunity to sit down with their insurers to discuss their personal circumstances and their claims. More than 150 policyholders met representatives from Suncorp, RACQ Insurance, IAG, QBE, Allianz, CommInsure, Youi and Westpac Insurance.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten was a surprise guest at the forum, Fuller said Shorten briefly talked to the audience about his experiences in disaster zones before speaking in private to locals. A second insurance forum will be held on Monday March 25. To register visit www.disasters.org.au or phone 1800 734 621.

Information on disaster assistance can be found on the Australian Government’s Disaster Assist website at www.disasterassist.gov.au and the Queensland Government’s Disaster Management website at www.disaster.qld.gov.au.