The Federal and Queensland Governments are jointly investing in a new disaster assistance package to boost recovery and resilience in South East Queensland (SEQ) following the storms and floods from December 2023. 

The new package will support community health and wellbeing, small business support as well as rebuilding community sport and recreational facilities around the Gold Coast region, through Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA),

The package, worth more than $112 million, will fund a range of initiatives to support recovery from both the SEQ storms and ex-Tropical Cyclone Jasper in Far North Queensland. This includes:

  • $51.3 million Environment Recovery Program
  • $22.94 million Community Health and Wellbeing Program, Community Recovery and Resilience Officers, and Flexible Funding Grants Package
  • $14.81 million Sport and Recreation Community Facilities Program
  • $13.4 million Small Business Support Program
  • $9.56 million Mental Health Program

This latest DRFA assistance package builds on the more than $70 million in support for Queenslanders affected by the SEQ storms and floods, including Personal Hardship Assistance, clean-up and recovery, and Local Recovery and Resilience Grants to local government areas of Gold Coast, Logan and Scenic Rim.

Federal Minister for Emergency Management, Murray Watt, said that the Federal Government is committed to making sure communities are better prepared for natural disasters, so they can respond and recover quicker.

“The wide range of support that we are announcing today will provide much-needed assistance to Queenslanders who faced the worst of the storms and floods in December,” Minister Watt said. 

“We recognise the significant recovery work that’s already been undertaken by the local councils, community groups and Queensland Government after the storms.

“This latest round of funding marks an important shift from efforts focusing on the immediate recovery, to mental health and wellness and setting the groundwork to build back better.

“This additional investment from both levels of government will help to address the broader recovery and help minimise the risk and impact of future disasters for South East Queenslanders.”

Minister responsible for the Queensland Reconstruction Authority, Nikki Boyd, said that when she visited the SEQ communities, they were already recovering and rebuilding. 

“We are working with the Australian Government to help by providing further targeted support across a broad range of groups impacted by the storms and floods in December,” Minister Boyd said. 

“We’ve worked closely with all levels of government to help build this package, and we’re looking forward to the positive outcomes that these initiatives will deliver.”

The breakdown of disaster support package is as follows:

Environment – $51.3 million

  • The $51.3 million Environment Recovery Program is designed to accelerate environmental and cultural recovery activities, including environmental investigations, clean-up flood debris from waterways and coastlines to aid riparian recovery, weed and pest management, biodiversity conservation, and restoration of environmental and cultural assets in national parks throughout the most heavily impacted areas. Available in both FNQ and SEQ.

Human and Social – $32.44 million

  • The $22.94 million Community Health and Wellbeing Program, Community Recovery and Resilience Officers, and Flexible Funding Grants package aims to mitigate psychosocial impacts, help impacted individuals access financial support, builders and services, and assist NGOs with disaster preparedness and response planning. Available for both FNQ and SEQ.
  • The $9.56 million Mental Health Program will fund Queensland Health to provide individual and family therapeutic interventions for impacted people, with particular attention paid to vulnerable people displaced from their home, especially Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Available for both FNQ and SEQ.

Building – $14.81 million

  • The $14.81 million Sport and Recreation Community Facilities Program will help rebuild and repair sport and recreation facilities impacted by the cyclone, storms and floods. Available for both FNQ and SEQ. 

Economic – $13.4 million

  • The $13.4 Small Business Support Program includes one-on-one case management focused on mental health and financial security, partnerships with councils and chambers of commerce to address local support needs, and grants for small businesses that have lost income due to prolonged isolation. Available for both FNQ and SEQ.

Image: Audreycmk/shutterstock.com

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