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Federal disaster assistance available to Maranoa communities

Leader of The Nationals and Federal Member for Maranoa David Littleproud has welcomed the federal government’s announcement that financial support will be available for people impacted by fires burning across Queensland’s Western and Darling Downs.

From 2pm, Tuesday October 31, applications for the Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment (AGDRP) and Disaster Recovery Allowance (DRA) will be open for people who live and work in the Toowoomba and Western Downs Local Government Areas.

The GDRP offers a one-off payment of $1000 per eligible adult and $400 per eligible child who has suffered significant loss as a result of the fires, including a severely damaged or destroyed home or serious injury.

Meanwhile, the DRA provides up to 13 weeks of federal income support to assist eligible employees or sole traders who experience a loss of income as a direct result of a major disaster.

Member for Maranoa David Littleproud said he had been working with Minister Watt and the Prime Minister, who had also been monitoring the situation and been in contact, so the financial support was welcome news for these communities.

“Tens of thousands of hectares have been burnt across the Western Downs in recent days with several homes and other buildings being lost as a result,” Mr Littleproud said.

“This sort of financial support will provide a lifeline to those who have suffered as a result of these bushfires.

“I encourage anyone impacted by bushfires across the Western Downs and Toowoomba Local Government areas to check their eligibility for these assistance measures via the Services Australia website.”

Equivalent financial assistance is available to eligible New Zealand citizens holding ‘non-protected Special Category’ and ‘subclass 444’ visas. People will soon be able to check their eligibility and how to claim on the Services Australia website.

People in the Western Downs and Toowoomba LGAs can also pause or change their Centrelink debt repayments using the Money you owe service online in either their Centrelink online account, or Express Plus Centrelink mobile app. Alternatively, they can call 1800 076 072.

Monday’s announcement comes as Community Recovery Hubs have opened at 49 Day Street, Tara and at the Murilla Community Centre where residents impacted by the Western and Darling Downs bushfires can access support and assistance.

Mr Littleproud said it was important for locals across the Maranoa electorate to stay vigilant and to monitor the latest fire warnings in their local area.

“Unfortunately, the threat is far from over for many parts of the state,” Mr Littleproud said.

“Our emergency services are doing a terrific job, so I urge everyone to stay alert, listen to the latest advice from local authorities and be ready to act on their bushfire survival plans.”

For more information about the Community Recovery Hubs visit qld.gov.au/disasterhelp or phone the community recovery hotline on 1800 173 349.

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