The Crest of the Commonwealth of Australia Treasury Portfolio Ministers
Picture of Wayne Swan

Wayne Swan

Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer

3 December 2007 - 27 June 2013

15 April 2011

NO.034

Joint Media Release
with
Senator the Hon Joe Ludwig
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
Minister Assisting the Attorney-General on Queensland Floods Recovery
and
The Hon Anna Bligh MP
Premier of Queensland

Cassowary Coast Support Package

Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer, Wayne Swan, Minister Assisting the Attorney-General on Queensland Floods Recovery, Senator Joe Ludwig, and Premier Anna Bligh today announced an assistance package for marine infrastructure in the Cassowary Coast region in Queensland's Far North.

Under the Cassowary Coast Support Package up to $15 million will be provided in funding to restore vital council infrastructure and restore natural vegetation and beach damage.

The Support Package will provide:

  • The repair of Dunk Island Jetty
  • The repair of Clump Point Jetty
  • The restoration of Cardwell beach foreshore and its natural vegetation

This support will assist tourism, vital for the lifeblood of these coastal communities; recreation, which is important for the wellbeing of the community; and for commercial use the jetties will have significant economic benefits.

The Bligh and Gillard Governments recognise the severity of the impact of Cyclone Yasi, and subsequent monsoonal flooding events and are continuing to support local communities across Queensland as they recovery and rebuild.

Local Councils across Far North Queensland have received approximately $52.5 million through advance funding to kickstart reconstruction efforts in communities devastated by the recent events. $19.9 million has gone directly to Cassowary Coast Regional Council already.

To assist those suffering the effects of Cyclone Yasi, the Gillard Government has paid almost $290 million to over 256,000 individuals under the Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment. In addition, over $5.6 million has been paid through the Disaster Income Relief Subsidy to over 5, 500 people. These are direct payments that have been made to individuals in need.

Under the special Gillard and Bligh Government support package to rebuild after Cyclone Yasi the following was made available:

  • Special concessional loans of up to $650,000 for eligible businesses, primary producers and not-for-profit organisations suffering extreme damage, with a grant component of up to $50,000;
  • Wage assistance for employers, including primary producers, equivalent to Newstart Allowance for up to 13 weeks to help maintain the viability of businesses and the local community; and
  • A $20 million Rural Resilience Fund, jointly funded by the Federal and Queensland Governments, to be administered by the Queensland Reconstruction Authority to help fund business and community support activities, such as farm clean-ups, counselling and social support measures.

Further, assistance includes:

  • Freight subsidies of up to $5,000 to assist primary producers with the costs of transporting livestock, fodder, water or equipment; and
  • Provision of tax relief including fast-tracking refunds, deferral of payment dates and assistance with record reconstruction by the Australian Taxation Office were all made available.

To date, 335 small business grants totalling almost $1.6 million, 303 primary producer grants totalling almost $1.6 million and 27 not-for-profit grants totalling $116,000 have been provided.

For residents impacted by Cyclone Yasi, the Queensland Government Premier's Disaster Relief Appeal has now paid out 6,063 Round 1 grants totalling $15.7 million. It's estimated about 60% of these grants have been paid to people in the Cassowary Coast. Locals in the Cassowary Coast have also started receiving Round 2 and 3 payments.

Operation Clean Up has commenced, with 18 jobs already underway in the Cassowary Coast clearing debris from three sugar cane properties, eight cattle properties, two orchards, three tourism properties, a banana farm and a horticulture property.

The State has also provided over $400,000 for waterways clearing, and works are beginning at Bluewater Ck, Hoban Ck and Tully Heads, Mission beach and Silkwood areas.

The Queensland Reconstruction Authority, led in the North by Chief Superintendent Mike Keating, has an office on the ground in Innisfail and will continue to work hand-in-hand with the Cassowary Coast Regional Council to deliver this level of coordinated assistance to those Queenslanders hardest hit by Cyclone Yasi.

Under the National Partnership Agreement process these funds will undergo the necessary scrutiny and review process to ensure value for money.

15 April 2011