Barred from claim­ing re­lief funds from Cy­clone Yasi

Townsville Bulletin - - Voice Of The North -

THE Aus­tralian Gov­ern­ment has a re­lief fund for peo­ple af­fected by Cy­clone Yasi.

When my part­ner and I went to ap­ply for this grant I was dis­gusted to find that this didn’t ap­ply to ev­ery­one.

It all de­pends on if you are Aus­tralian or not!

Where and when did it say that the gov­ern­ment were go­ing to only of­fer this grant to cer­tain peo­ple af­fected by Yasi?

My p a r t n e r h a s b e e n work­ing in Aus­tralia for over six years pay­ing taxes and has never once been on any form of a ben­e­fit yet when we went claim the grant ( I am Aus­tralian and he is a Kiwi) he was treated in the most in­ap­pro­pri­ate man­ner by Cen­tre­link staff.

They de­manded to see his work­ing visa – since when has some­one from New Zeal and needed a work­ing visa?

It has al­ways been an a g r e e ment b e t ween t he Aus­tralia and the NZ gov­ern­ment that peo­ple from NZ can come live here, work here and be part of our com­mu­nity.

How­ever if you are a Kiwi and you were af­fected by Yasi you couldn’t claim the ben­e­fit un­til Fe­bru­ary 24 and the gov­ern­ment only just made that de­ci­sion. Prior to that peo­ple from NZ were not en­ti­tled to a cent of the Yasi money un­less they had a work­ing visa ( when you go to ap­ply for a visa and you are from NZ you are told you don’t need one and are not re­quired to have one), even though they were af­fected by the cy­clone.

When I asked why this was the case I was told it ‘‘ was not fair that peo­ple from other coun­tries should re­ceive the grant when, if we were in their coun­try and the same thing hap­pened, it may not be re­cip­ro­cated.’’ How dis­gust­ing is that? How Aus­tralian is that of our gov­ern­ment to think that way.

Peo­ple have had their lives turned up­side down by the cy­clone, how­ever we worry about where some­one is from as to whether they are en­ti­tled to re­ceive a pay­ment that was meant f or peo­ple ‘ ‘ af­fected by Yasi.’’ I have friends here from the Philip­pines who were told be­cause they are on a work­ing visa they are not en­ti­tled to any money ei­ther de­spite the fact that they lost their roof, had ma­jor d a mage t o t hei r house and no elec­tric­ity for over six days.

Shame on the Aus­tralian gov­ern­ment for treat­ing peo­ple this way.

I won­der if all of these hard­work­ing peo­ple we have liv­ing here from other coun­tries on visas, or from New Zealand de­cided to stop pay­ing taxes . . . what would the gov­ern­ment say about that? To­tally dis­ap­pointed in the gov­ern­ment of Aus­tralia.

JANE, Bel­gian Gar­dens.

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