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FEATURE ARTICLE: AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT DISASTER ASSISTANCE
2007 New South Wales and Victorian floods
In June 2007, fierce storms led to dramatic floods in the Central Coast and the Hunter Valley regions of New South Wales. In Maitland, New South Wales, residents were evacuated from their homes for fear that rising flood waters would breach the levies. The floods cut electricity for thousands of Hunter Valley residents and nine people lost their lives, including a family whose car came off the road when a section of the Old Pacific Highway at Somersby was washed away.
Shortly after the storms that flooded the Hunter Valley region and Central Coast in New South Wales, large parts of eastern Victoria were under water from two days of wild storms causing the evacuation of many residents in the Gippsland region. The record amount of water making its way down the Thompson River flooded Sale, Traralgon, Bairnsdale and Paynesville. Homes were flooded, roads were cut off, telephone and power services were cut, and livestock drowned.
In response to these events, the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements between the Commonwealth and the New South Wales and Victorian state governments were activated to assist communities adversely affected as a direct result of the storm damage and associated flooding. Three Community Recovery Funds were established, with equal contributions from the State and Commonwealth; $500,000 each for the Hunter Valley and Central Coast regions, and $100,000 for the Gippsland region. The funds were used to address the needs of affected local communities for a range of economic activities such as:
The Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment was also activated, providing payments of $1,000 per eligible adult and $400 per eligible child to people who were seriously injured or whose principal place of residence was destroyed, or rendered uninhabitable.
2006-07 summer bushfires
During the 2006-07 summer, Australia experienced a number of bushfire outbreaks in locations across Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia. The size and spread of the bushfires were driven by extreme fire conditions and resulted in the loss of property, evacuations and large-scale loss of farming land and forested areas. More specifically:
The Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment, $1,000 for each eligible adult and $400 for each eligible child, was activated to provide immediate financial assistance to people whose principal place of residence had been destroyed or rendered uninhabitable. In addition, the Australian Government's Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements were activated to help alleviate the financial burden that these natural disasters caused the state governments and local communities. A Community Recovery Fund was also established to assist the regions fully recover from the fires.
2006-07 tropical cyclones Larry, Monica, George and Jacob
On 20 March 2006, the Far North Queensland coast just south of Cairns was hit by a category 5 cyclone, Larry. While there was no loss of life, a significant number of homes and businesses in the area were affected. A natural disaster zone was declared by the Queensland Government. In response to the devastation, the Australian Government provided support measures to assist those affected by the cyclone to rebuild their homes, businesses and lives. Assistance included:
In late-April 2006, cyclone Monica crossed Cape York bringing heavy rain and flooding causing damage to Far North Queensland, before moving north-west across the Gulf of Carpentaria and crossing the coast of the Northern Territory. It came relatively shortly after the devastation caused by cyclone Larry and dealt a severe blow to parts of the Cape already struggling to adjust to the aftermath of cyclone Larry. The Australian Government decided to extend the assistance package to businesses, including farmers, in those areas impacted by the cumulative effects of cyclones Larry and Monica. This package assisted severely affected businesses and farmers in the Cape region of Far North Queensland, who had not previously received assistance, to overcome the impact of both cyclones. The assistance package included:
On 8 and 12 March 2007, cyclones George and Jacob crossed the Western Australian coast near Port Hedland, causing extensive damage to communities in the far north of Western Australia. The Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment, $1,000 per eligible adult and $400 per eligible child, was activated for people who were seriously injured or whose principal place of residence was destroyed or rendered uninhabitable. This assistance was in addition to the usual financial help provided by the Commonwealth under the Natural Disaster Relief Recovery Arrangements.
International critical incidents
The Australian Government has provided assistance for offshore disasters and critical incidents, including:
Australian Government assistance for these incidents included: