Vic­tims urged to reap­ply

Whitsunday Times - - NEWS -

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.

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