One in three got a disaster payment
ONE in three people in the Whitsunday, Mackay and Isaac regions received a hardship grant in the wake of Cyclone Debbie, the Whitsunday Times can reveal.
More than 84,000 people in these areas received a hardship payment under a new electronic payment system.
Prior to Cyclone Debbie, it was a paper process to distribute the Immediate Hardship Assistance grants.
The total amount paid out in the region under the grant was about
Responding to a question on notice from Member for Whitsunday Jason Costigan, who claimed “countless people” were denied payments, the Minister for Communities, Women and Youth Shannon Fentiman, said no one who was eligible for the payment was denied.
“Although the application and payment process was easy and efficient for the vast majority of people, delayed payments are in fact largely attributable to circumstances where paper forms were used in hubs that commenced operation to immediately start assisting people even though power was not available,” she said.
Mr Costigan took the minister to task on the new electronic system claiming it had failed and was not adequately tested.
Ms Fentiman said the system was tested at the start of the storm season, and again as the tropical cyclone was forming off the Queensland coast.
She said it worked well for the first time after the paper system had been phased out, following TC Marcia in 2015.
According to the minister almost eight times the number of grants were provided during the first 14 days of grant activation, compared to the number following TC Marcia, grants were paid 51% faster and 94% of applicants were paid by electronic transfer quickly.
AFTERMATH: Airlie Beach foreshore after TC Debbie, Thursday, March 30.