Disaster relief delivered in record time: Lismore MP
THURSDAY 11.10am: BUSINESS owners a breathing a sigh of relief this morning as the Federal Government announced Category C grants of up to $15,000 for flood-affected residents.
The news was music to the ears of Coffee Shots owner Mary Bryant,of Lismore, who needed to replace her flood-damaged front counter fridge.
"I think it's great ... Lismore is so at the moment and I just want to see businesses take all of this and run with it and try to get up and running again," Ms Bryant said.
Deborah Benhayon said the grants are a "great relief" for businesses that have been saying "this is the support they've been waiting for and needed".
"We were hearing of businesses who were saying they were potentially going to walk away," Ms Benhayon said.
"But now they won't because of this additional assistance, which can support them through to re-establish and get going."
Ms Benhayon credited the collaboration between the business community and all three tiers of government for delivering the much-needed funding.
Lismore MP Thomas George agreed and said the grants have been delivered for small business in record time.
"The last flood that was in Lismore I can tell you took three months to have anything considered," Mr George said.
"This is the first time Category C has ever been given in my time and I've been here 20 years.
"We have never had a bigger water event than this one."
Page MP Kevin Hogan said estimated the time-frame from lodging the application to the money in the bank will be within weeks.
He said he's been reassured by the Federal Government that the processing of the applications will be conducted in a timely manner.
Mr Hogan said the delivery of the grants "has set a precedent" now
"We have set in place a lot of structures the fact that we can get Category C in two weeks has shown we can act that quickly," Mr Hogan said.
Future planning around flood mitigation and management are critical Mr Hogan said to ensuring a strong future for Lismore.
"This can't keep happening every 20 years, if it keep happens every 20 years this will prohibit the growth of our region."
The chamber will be running a funding and recovery seminar to assist businesses complete Category C grant applications next Thursday morning.
More details will be posted on the chamber's website.
THURSDAY 7.50am: PAGE MP Kevin Hogan has expressed his joy now that Category C disaster has been declared for Lismore.
"This means much more financial help to get our local businesses and community back on its feet," Mr Hogan said.
Businesses and not-for-profit organisations can apply for grants of up to $15,000.
It is available for businesses in Lismore CBD, North Lismore, South Lismore, Girards Hill and parts of East Lismore.
"This is essential to rebuilding Lismore's small business community," Mr Hogan said.
"I think it is really important psychologically for the confidence of our town and, practically it will be a real boost for the local economy."
Mr Hogan has been working with Lismore City Council and the Lismore Chamber of Commerce and Industry to ensure the application was detailed enough for it to be fast-tracked.
"Our application has been exceptionally thorough and well put together," he said.
"To make these grants happen quickly meant we had to give a good evaluation of the data and what was going on.
"That is why it has taken a few days."
State Member for Lismore Thomas George said Category C funding is on top of assistance that has already been announced.
"Small businesses are the life blood of regional communities like Lismore, so it's vital that we give them a helping hand," he said.
"We sent in Disaster Assessment Teams as soon as we could and carried out the necessary appraisal to ensure those who have lost so much have the support they need to rebuild their livelihood.,"
THURSDAY 6.50am: CATEGORY C disaster relief funding will be available to flood victims in Lismore and Murwillumbah later today.
The State Government made the application earlier this week, and it has now been approved by the Deputy Prime Minister.
Page MP Kevin Hogan and Lismore MP Thomas George were set to speak to the media at 9.30am today, however the Minister for Justice Michael Keenan and New South Wales Minister for Emergency Services Troy Grant beat them to the announcement with a statement this morning.
The Category C assistance will be provided through the jointly funded Commonwealth-State Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA) to affected communities within the Lismore and Tweed local government areas.
Minister Keenan said this activation of additional assistance demonstrated the dedication of the Australian and New South Wales governments to work together to ensure small businesses and non-profit organisations have the support they need.
"Today's additional assistance will ensure eligible small businesses and non-profit organisations can access grants of up to $15,000 to assist with their clean-up and recovery costs," Mr Keenan said.
"We know that small businesses are the life blood of regional communities in particular, so it's vital that we give them a helping hand to get back on their feet."
Minister Grant said the assistance would be available to eligible small businesses and non-profit organisations in impacted parts of Lismore and Murwillumbah.
"Assessments have been carried out rapidly to ensure those who have lost so much have the support they need to rebuild their livelihoods," Mr Grant said.
"Small business owners are often the first to lend a helping hand when a community is doing it tough, and today we are supporting them on their journey to recovery."
The ABC reported that Mr Hogan said it would allow business owners who lost assets in the floods to apply for grants of up to $15,000.
"Very important boost for our town," he said.
"I think again this is a significant step in our recovery.
"We will recover and we will be bigger and better than we were before.
"It's going to take time, but this announcement is an important part of that."
Today's announced assistance was in addition to the assistance already provided under the joint Commonwealth-State NDRRA, which was announced on 31 March, including:
- Help for eligible people whose homes or belongings have been damaged
- Support for affected local councils to help with the costs of cleaning up and restoring damaged essential public assets
- Concessional interest rate loans for small businesses, primary producers and non-profit organisations
- Freight subsidies for primary producers
- Grants to non-profit organisations
To apply for a recovery grant, small businesses in the local government areas above can contact the NSW Rural Assistance Authority on 1800 678 593 or by visiting raa.nsw.gov.au.