20 December 2023

Funding support available for those impacted by natural disaster

| Matt Nicholls
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Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has announced additional financial support for Far North Queenslanders adversely affected by Tropical Cyclone Jasper.

“The devastation we have seen over the past few days in Far North Queensland has been horrific,” Mr Albanese said.

“My government stands with the people of Queensland now during the response and will continue to do so through the recovery phase of this disaster. This will deliver emergency support to help families get back on their feet in the coming days.”

People who live in the Cairns, Cassowary Coast, Cook, Douglas, Hope Vale, Mareeba, Tablelands, Wujal Wujal and Yarrabah councils can make a claim from 2pm on Wednesday, December 20.

The state government has also offered funding support.

Funding available includes:

Disaster Recovery Payment:

  • One-time payment
  • Non-means tested
  • $1000 per eligible adult
  • $400 per eligible child
  • Apply through MyGov

Disaster Recovery Allowance:

  • Short-term support payment
  • Assists individuals with proven income impact due to a cyclone
  • Emergency Hardship Assistance Grant:
  • Helps with essential needs, food, medication, clothing, and temporary accommodation
  • $180 for individuals, up to $900 for families of five or more
  • Apply through MyGov

If people need help to claim, they can call the Australian Government Emergency information line on 180 22 66. If they want to speak to someone in their language, they can also call the Centrelink multilingual phone service on 131 202.

Essential Services Hardship Assistance Grant:

Essential Household Contents Grant:

Essential Services Safety and Reconnection Grant:

Structural Assistance Grant:

Anyone requiring personal hardship payments or other immediate assistance can contact the Queensland Community Recovery Hotline on 1800 173 349.

Federal Emergency Management Minister Murray Watt said it was clear the government was in for a “pretty expensive repair bill”.

“Today, we will really see the beginning of the recovery effort across much of Far North Queensland. So, there’ll be a big focus on recovery work,” he said.

“We’re going to see a very large amount of property damage.”


Meanwhile, First Nation organisations impacted by Cyclone Jasper in far North Queensland, are eligible to apply for funds up to $20,000 from the Indigenous Land and Sea Corporation.

In June, the Indigenous Land and Sea Corporation (ILSC) launched a national quick response grants program, to assist Indigenous organisations recover from natural disasters.

Indigenous corporations may be eligible for assistance through the program if their property is within a State or Territory declared natural disaster area or they require immediate assistance to make their property safe to access.

ILSC group chief executive, Joe Morrison, said his thoughts were with those who have suffered from Cyclone Jasper.

“While we understand that this disaster is still unfolding, the ILSC is on standby, ready to support eligible Indigenous corporations as quickly as possible,” he said.

“The grants provide a streamlined application and approval process, ensuring Indigenous corporations have more time to focus on immediate recovery following disasters.”

The funding can be used for immediate clean-up of a property, work to make a property safe, and for the purchase of equipment to assist with recovery efforts.

Further information on applying for Disaster Recovery Quick Response Grants can be found on the ILSC website.


Farmers and primary producers in Cook, Mareeba and Tablelands affected by recent bushfires will now have access to operational loans to aid their recovery.

The Federal and Queensland Governments continue to activate bushfire assistance for Far North communities affected by the blazes of October and November.

These new support measures are being made available to primary producers in the Local Government Areas of Cook, Mareeba and Tablelands, jointly funded through Commonwealth-state Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA).

Concessional loans up to $250,000 can be used to repair or replace damaged plant and equipment, farm infrastructure or livestock.

Working capital concessional loans up to $100,000 are also available for wages, rents, buying fuel and fodder, and transportation costs, while freight subsidies up to $5000 can assist efforts too.

“These concessional loans will support bushfire-affected farmers in Cook, Mareeba and Tablelands as they get back on their feet,” said Acting Federal Minister for Emergency Management Madeleine King.

“Farmers who have suffered loss of income as a consequence of the fires can also access working capital loans to continue on-farm operations.

“This is the latest of the many avenues of assistance currently available from both levels of governments in response to the terrible fires we’ve seen over the past few months.

“Farmers in the Far North have copped it this disaster season so we hope the additional support announced today will speed up recovery for those impacted.”

More information on Primary Producer and Essential Working Capital Loans is available through the Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority on 1800 623 946 or visit www.qrida.qld.gov.au.

For freight subsidies contact the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries on 13 25 23 or visit www.daf.qld.gov.au.

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