Australian Government support
for flood impacted communities
The Australian Government continues to provide a hand up to farmers, businesses and communities affected by the 2019 North Queensland floods, with more than $3.3 billion committed to support people as they rebuild and recover.
While it’s widely acknowledged that recovery is going to take many years, one year on there are signs that the region is on the mend.
The National Drought and Flood Agency continues to stand with communities as they recover from the flood event and respond to challenges like drought and the impacts of Coronavirus (COVID-19).
- Assistance for affected primary producers
- Assistance for small businesses
- Other small business assistance
- Assistance for families and communities
- Assistance from non-government organisations
Regional Recovery Officers
The National Drought and Flood Agency’s Regional Recovery Officers work closely on the ground with other Australian Government agencies such as the Rural Financial Counselling Service and the Regional Investment Corporation to assist people impacted by flood and drought.
The officers are an important conduit between people in our regions and the Australian Government. The RRO’s will be a voice from the region straight back to the Coordinator-General and his team.
Rural Financial Counselling Service
The Australian Government has funded the RFCS program for rural communities for over thirty years.
This free service helps primary producers assess their options for recovery, outline the options available for support, and help people apply for grants and other assistance. For more information, visit the North Queensland Rural Financial Counselling Service website or phone (07) 4652 5669.
North Queensland Restocking, Replanting & On-farm Infrastructure Grants
North Queensland Restocking, Replanting & On-farm Infrastructure Grants are funded by the Australian Government.
Eligible primary producers can apply for up to $400,000 to assist with restocking, replanting and replacement of on-farm infrastructure damaged by the 2019 floods.
The grant must be matched with a 50 per cent co-contribution. The scheme will remain open until 30 June 2021 or until available funding is fully distributed. For more information call 1800 623 946 or visit the QRIDA website.
Special Disaster Assistance Recovery Grants
Special Disaster Assistance Recovery grants are funded by joint Australian and Queensland Government Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements.
Grants of up to $75,000 are available to assist eligible primary producers with activities including removing debris, disposing of dead livestock, salvaging crops, grain and feed, and repairing plant and equipment. For more information call 1800 623 946 or visit the QRIDA website.
Applications have now closed.
Low interest loans
A range of low interest loans are available to assist primary producers to get back on their feet. These loans are funded either solely by the Australian Government or through joint Australian and Queensland Government Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements.
Disaster Assistance Loans of up to $250,000 can assist with re-establishing normal operations by covering expenses such as building repairs, purchasing stock or meeting carry-on requirements. These loans have a maximum term of up to 10 years and an initial annual interest rate of 1.37%. For more information call 1800 623 946 or visit the QRIDA website.
Disaster Assistance (Essential Working Capital) Loans of up to $100,000 can assist with essential working capital expenses such as paying salaries or wages, rent or buying goods. These loans have a maximum term of up to 10 years and an initial interest rate of 1.37%. For more information call 1800 623 946 or visit the QRIDA website.
Exceptional Disaster Assistance Loans of up to $1 million are available to primary producers and business owners whose assets have sustained exceptional damage. The loan can be used to repair or replace damaged equipment and infrastructure, restock and sustain livestock, and meet carry-on requirements. These loans have a maximum term of up to 10 years and the first 2 years are interest free. The initial annual interest rate applying from the third year is 1.37%. For more information call 1800 623 946 or visit the QRIDA website.
Flood Freight Subsidy and Agistment Scheme
The Flood Freight Subsidy and Agistment Scheme is funded by joint Australian and State Government Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements. To accelerate restocking in the flood-impacted area and increase opportunities for short-term income, primary producers can receive 50 per cent restocking freight subsidies of up to $50,000 per year for two years. For more information call 13 25 23 or visit the DAF website.
The Special Disaster Recovery Grant and Disaster Assistance loans are jointly funded by the Australian and Queensland Government through the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements.
Disaster Recovery Grant for Small Business
Funding up to $10,000 is available to small businesses severely impacted by the flood event. The funding can be used to engage high-level expertise to help recover and rebuild business confidence. Funding for building, plant and equipment repairs is available in specific circumstances. For more information visit the Business Queensland website. The Small Business Disaster Recovery Grant is funded by the Queensland Government.
Special Disaster Assistance Recovery Grants
Grants of up to $50,000 for eligible small businesses for clean-up and reinstatement activities including removing debris, repairing buildings, paying additional wages to staff to assist with clean-up work, and leasing equipment or materials to get back to business. For more information call 1800 623 946 or visit the QRIDA website. Applications have now closed.
Disaster Assistance Loans
Small businesses whose assets have been significantly damaged can apply for Disaster Assistance Loans of up to $250,000 to re-establish normal operations by covering costs such as repairing buildings and meeting carry-on requirements. These loans are also available to not-for-profit organisations, up to a value of $100,000. For more information call 1800 623 946 or visit the QRIDA website.
The Australian Government is committed to supporting small businesses and nurturing new ventures by providing low cost, high quality advice in areas such as business technology, marketing, mentoring and training.
Small Business Advisory Service
The Australian Small Business Advisory Service - Digital Solutions (ASBAS-DS) delivers low cost, high quality digital advisory services to metropolitan and regional areas. These services can be provided through one on one consultations, group workshops, remotely online or via telephone. The remote service offer ensures that if a business consultant is not physically available in a location, small businesses can still receive support.
New Business Assistance
The New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS) is a program that helps people to start their own small business and includes training and mentoring.
Entrepreneurship Facilitators provide practical assistance to support and encourage individuals to start a business as a way to create their own job. Entrepreneurship Facilitators deliver services in 23 locations across Australia, with a focus on encouraging entrepreneurship among mature age Australians.
The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) offers a range of assistance and support strategies to help individuals, business owners and primary producers to get their tax affairs back on track.
Depending on your circumstances, the ATO may:
- give you extra time to pay your debt or lodge tax forms such as activity statements
- help you find a lost tax file number, and re-issue income tax returns, activity statements and notices of assessment
- help you re-construct tax records that are lost or damaged
- fast track your refund
- set up a payment plan tailored to your individual circumstances including interest free periods
- remit penalties or interest charged during the time you have been affected
- vary your ‘pay as you go’ (PAYG) instalments
- vary your GST reporting cycle
For more information on how the ATO can assist you, call the ATO Emergency Support Infoline on 1800 806 218 or visit the dedicated North Queensland Floods webpage.
For further information on ATO disaster assistance, visit the Dealing with Disasters webpage.
Personal Hardship Assistance Scheme
The Personal Hardship Assistance Scheme provides financial support for individuals and families impacted by the 2019 North Queensland flood. The Scheme is administered by the Queensland Department of Communities Disability Services and Seniors (DCDSS) and aims to alleviate personal hardship and distress as a result of the floods.
To find out more about the scheme and grants available in each affected Shire, visit the Queensland Government disasters and emergencies website. Applications can also be made by calling 1800 173 349.
Mental health services
Need someone to talk to? If you’re feeling overwhelmed or finding things a little tough, there are a number of organisations who can help. Don’t push through, reach out and talk to someone.
- NQ Connect is a 24/7 free phone and online counselling service which is available to all people in flood-affected areas. Call 1300 059 625 or visit the website.
- Outback Futures is working to support families and communities devastated by drought and flood by providing regular, professional and consistent mental and allied health and wellbeing services. Call 0417 703 729 or visit the website.
- Lifeline offers personal support and assistance for self and family, and can be reached on 13 11 14 or via the website.
- Beyond Blue can help with personal issues including anxiety and depression, and can be reached on 1300 224 636 or via the website.
- The Kids Helpline provides support for young people aged 5 to 25 and can be reached on 1800 55 1800 or via the website.
- The Disaster Recovery Team is provides specialist mental health and crisis support for people affected by the 2019 North Queensland flood. Call (07) 4433 8378 or after hours -1300 MH CALL (1300 64 2225)
A range of charities and non-government organisations are providing relief to individuals and communities impacted by flooding. While the floodwaters have receded, recovery will take years, and the work of charities is essential to helping individuals and communities get back on their feet.
Legal assistance for Townsville and surrounds
Townsville Community Legal Service provides a free legal assistance service to people affected by the 2019 flooding in Townsville and surrounding areas. The service offers legal assistance in areas including insurance, tenancy, consumer and debt, employment, emergency hardship payment and other Centrelink issues. Visit the website or phone (07) 4721 5511 for further information.
The Queensland Families and Communities Association (QFCA)
The QFCA provides a network of support throughout Queensland for communities responding to natural disasters. QFCA centres are frequently involved in community recovery, giving access to no-interest loans, school items, low-cost food and community rebuilding activities.
Visit the QFCA website for more information.
Family Emergency Accommodation Townsville (FEAT)
FEAT provides housing referrals and assistance in gaining emergency accommodation and securing long term leasing in the Townsville region. Other services include crisis intervention, emotional support, services for children and links to a range of broader assistance.
Visit the FEAT website or call (07) 4772 1450 for more information.
North Queensland Combined Women’s Service (NQCWA)
The NQCWA provides emergency relief support to women and children experiencing domestic violence. The service will assist with interventions, accommodation and other forms of support for women and children displaced or suffering from domestic violence as a result of the 2019 North Queensland floods. For more information, visit the NQCWA website or phone (07) 4775 7555.
Salvation Army emergency support workers can provide people impacted by the 2019 North Queensland flood with immediate assistance in the form of cash and goods. Other services include chaplains and support workers, financial counsellors - available to help flood impacted people work through complex longer-term issues, and employment and training services. The Salvos also offer children places at kids camps, or grants for short breaks away from the disaster area. For more information visit the Salvos Disaster Recovery and Emergency Services webpage, or phone 13 SALVOS (13 72 58).
For further information on charities and non-government organisations providing assistance, visit FarmHub.