Hartsuyker says flood funds are too little for too few

COWPER MP Luke Hartsuyker has asked the NSW and Federal governments for a "please explain" over eligibility for flood assistance.

The Mid-North Coast was declared a natural disaster zone following flooding in late January and again after the February storm and flood assistance.

Mr Hartsuyker said the funds made available under the declaration provides little support to very few people.

A quick check of State and Federal government websites shows that the region is covered by loan assistance from the Rural Assistance Authority,  as well as Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payments of up to $1000 per person for the January event.

This assistance is consistent with natural disasters declared category B.

"There is a lot of confusion in many communities about what funding assistance is available," Mr Hartsuyker said.

"The Gillard Government has yet to announce whether the Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payments of $1000 per adult and $400 per child will be made available to those affected by the February event."

He said it was not known whether the region would be covered by one-off $15,000 grants to small businesses and primary producers.

This assistance has been declared for other areas in NSW affected by floods recently.

Mr Hartsuyker has criticised the joint State-Federal funding of recovery efforts.

"Some farmers have lost their crops, oyster growers have lost their produce and some small businesses were inundated by flood water," Mr Hartsuyker said.

"The uncertainty over whether the Government will provide additional financial assistance is making a difficult situation much worse."

Mr Hartsuyker's comments come after NSW Police and Emergency Services Minister Michael Gallacher said on Wednesday that disaster relief funding would help families, business owners, primary producers and local councils to restore any damage as he widened the areas eligible for assistance.



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