Fund­ing ex­plained

Townsville Bulletin - - Voice Of The North - Opin­ion Ma­jor- Gen­eral Mick Slater, Queens­land Re­con­struc­tion Au­thor­ity

ONE of the frus­tra­tions I hear from peo­ple as I talk with af­fected com­mu­ni­ties is about the con­fus­ing na­ture of the as­sis­tance pro­grams avail­able af­ter a disas­ter event.

The re­con­struc­tion task be­fore us is enor­mous, but I know that for many Queens­lan­ders, mak­ing sense of the money dur­ing a cri­sis is even harder.

For peo­ple in ar­eas of Queens­land who are reg­u­larly im­pacted by nat­u­ral dis­as­ters like cy­clones, the pro­cesses for get­ting help to get back on your feet af­ter an event are bet­ter known. But the size and scope of the disas­ter events that hit us last sum­mer are so large, that for many this will be the first time they have to nav­i­gate what can be a com­pli­cated process at a very dif­fi­cult time.

And with so many ar­eas hit hard, even find­ing out where to go for help can be over­whelm­ing. And so, I want to spend some time un­scram­bling the ‘‘ help egg’’.

The cost of re­con­struct­ing Queens­land post floods and Cy­clone Yasi will be more than $ 5 bil­lion. The Com­mon­wealth and State Gov­ern­ments have an as­sis­tance pro­gram called the NDRRA or Nat­u­ral Disas­ter Re­lief and Re­cov­ery Ar­range­ment which comes into ef­fect when disas­ter strikes and im­me­di­ately af­ter.

The scheme is funded at 75 per cent by the Com­mon­wealth and 25 per cent from the State Gov­ern­ment. The Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment has al­ready put $ 2 bil­lion to­wards the re­con­struc­tion ef­fort. Much of the money needed for the re­con­struc­tion of Queens­land’s pub­lic in­fra­struc­ture will come from this scheme and the au­thor­ity will man­age the money to en­sure that we make that al­lo­ca­tion go as far as pos­si­ble.

The NDRRA is broadly split into four cat­e­gories: • Cat­e­gory A is a form of im­me­di­ate emer­gency as­sis­tance that is given to peo­ple to help ease per­sonal hard­ship as a di­rect re­sult of a nat­u­ral disas­ter. It pays for things such as emer­gency ac­com­mo­da­tion and food, as well as counter disas­ter op­er­a­tions like sand­bags or tar­pau­lins. • Cat­e­gory B ba­si­cally fixes what was bro­ken. It pays for re­pairs to pub­lic as­sets like ma­jor roads and helps busi­nesses back on t heir f eet through grants and spe­cial loans. It also helps peo­ple have es­sen­tial ser­vices like gas, power and sew­er­age fixed in their homes. • Cat­e­gory C in­cludes com­mu­nity re­cov­ery pack­ages that look at the re­cov­ery from a holis­tic per­spec­tive by pro­vid­ing grants to busi­nesses, pri­mary pro­duc­ers and not-for­profit or­gan­i­sa­tions for ac­tiv­i­ties like cleanup, de­bris re­moval and fod­der drops. •The re­cen tly an­nounced Cat­e­gory D pro­vides ex­tra sup­port­for el­i­gi­ble Cat­e­gory C ap­pli­cants who have suf­fered ex­treme dam­age by pro­vid­ing ac­cess to con­ces­sional loans and grants. It is tar­geted at in­dus­tries that are sig­nif­i­cant­tolo­cal c om­mu­ni­ties a nd whose pro­longed clo­sure will have a huge im­pact.

The re­al­ity is, of course, that not all re­con­struc­tion jobs will fit un­der the four cat­e­gories t he NDRRA pro­vides for . That’s why the gov­ern­ment has an­nounced other pro­grams like the $ 315 mil­lion lo­cal coun­cils pack­age and the $ 24.5 mil­lion Sports Fight­back Fund which will pay for the re­con­struc­tion of wa­ter treat­ment plants and com­mu­nity sport­ing fa­cil­i­ties.

And yet, there’ll be oth­ers that won’t fit in any of the cat­e­gories – that’s where do­na­tions will make all the dif­fer­ence. As well mak­ing sure ev­ery dol­lar is best spent in af­fected com­mu­ni­ties, t he au­thor­ity is also man­ag­ing adonor-ma tch­ing pro­gram where pledges will be matched to com­mu­ni­ties most in need of help. But we need your help to get it right. The re­con­struc­tion ef­fort will be driven from the ground up. You know your com­mu­ni­ties best and you un­der­stand your needs. So stay en­gaged in the de­bate over ideas and sug­ges­tions and above all, put your ef­forts into your com­mu­nity’s re­cov­ery.

FUND­ING: Cat­e­gory B ba­si­cally fixes what was bro­ken like ma­jor roads and helps busi­nesses back on their feet

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