Fri. Feb 23rd, 2024

Barnaby Joyce says that Tenterfield have been ‘snubbed’ by the Federal Government as they are not getting the same disaster support as those on the Queensland side of the border affected by the same fires.

“To date, four homes and twenty-one buildings have been confirmed destroyed and around 43,000 hectares of land was burnt in the northern part of the New England electorate, in the Tenterfield LGA,” Member for New England Barnaby Joyce said.

“Many residents continue to be without essentials such as fresh drinking water as fire both contaminated and destroyed infrastructure such as tanks and pipes.” 

“I am calling on Minister Watt for the Local Government Area (LGA) of Tenterfield to be recognised as being directly affected by natural disaster, following the recent fires, to allow residents to receive direct Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payments and the Disaster Recovery Allowance administered though Services Australia.”

“The lack of action and response to date regarding the welfare of the people of northern New England is unacceptable.”

“The township of Wallangarra/Jennings is divided by the Queensland/New South Wales border, therefore leaving a discrepancy in only allowing those residing in Queensland being eligible for direct Federal Government assistance, essentially resulting in having assistance determined on the basis of which side of the street someone is on.”

“Due to the lack of direct assistance, many residents severely affected by this natural disaster have turned to charities such as the Salvation Army to receive vouchers for food and fuel.”

“I urgently call on Minister Watt to assist the residents of the Tenterfield LGA in gaining access to the necessary support through Services Australia as soon as possible.”

Minister Watt’s office said that federal assistance was already flowing to people in Tenterfield affected by the recent fires. Disaster assistance under the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA), has been activated for the Inverell, Kyogle, and Tenterfield Local Government Areas (LGAs) for bushfires on 13 October 2023 onwards, making an array of support services and funding available.

“To date, a range of assistance has been activated by the Federal and State Governments for those impacted in the Tenterfield area:

  • Primary producers and small businesses: Concessional loans up to $130,000
  • Transport subsidies up to $15,000
  • Sporting and recreation clubs: Concessional loans up to $12,000, Grant up to $2,000
  • Not-for-profit organisations: Concessional loans up to $25,000
  • Councils: Counter disaster operations and restoration of essential public assets”

However, this does not include the cash payments under the Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payments and the Disaster Recovery Allowance administered though Services Australia, which at the moment are only made available to those affected by the Darling Downs fires in Queensland.

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