Victims urged to reapply
SOME Cyclone Debbie victims were told they were ineligible for hardship assistance thanks to a software glitch, MP George Christensen has said.
Mr Christensen urged the Queensland Government to urgently get their systems right and send more staff to process payments face-to-face instead of via a call centre.
He said some residents in the worst-hit areas, including Airlie Beach, Cannonvale, Proserpine, Bowen and Mackay were told they weren’t eligible for the payments.
“My advice from the office of the State Minister responsible is that this is due to software glitches.
“While I have also been told that the problem has now been rectified, there are probably hundreds of people who have been denied when they are stressed out and hurting, and it is truly disgraceful,” he said.
“I made calls on Friday when I was first alerted to the situation, and yesterday (Saturday) as the problem continued to escalate.”
The jointly funded National Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangement is administered by the State Government.
“That started off badly and only got worse as more and more people were let down,” Mr Christensen said.
Mr Christensen, the federal MP for Dawson, which includes the Whitsundays, urged Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to send more staff to damaged areas for face-to-face payment applications.
“I am told that the process is generally going smoothly when people attend one of the community centres to claim a payment face-to-face but I am also told there are queues streaming out the door at some of these centres,” he said.