What a mess...domestic flood rubbish waiting to be picked up at the Gundagai Street unit.
What a mess...domestic flood rubbish waiting to be picked up at the Gundagai Street unit. Bruce Thomas

Paying rent for this

ELDERLY residents of a flood ravaged street have been paying rent on houses they can't live in.

Until yesterday, before The Coffs Coast Advocate intervened, 82-year-old Pamela Homer and 92-year-old Barbara Waldron were still forking out to Housing NSW despite requests to have their rent payments stopped.

“I had to move in with family after the floods but the Housing Department is still taking rent out of our pensions,” Pamela said. “This will be the fourth week since we haven't lived there.”

And so the Advocate yesterday took the residents' plight directly to Housing NSW and by 3pm, the issue was resolved. The department said the mix-up was caused by problems of its own associated with the flood and will fully reimburse residents.

Luke Hartsuyker, the Nationals' Federal Member for Cowper, said the Rudd government was abandoning Coffs Coast flood victims.

“Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has failed to give Coffs Coast flood victims the same payments as those affected by the floods in North Queensland earlier this year,” he said.

The Federal Government made payments of $1000 to adults and $400 to children hit by the Ingham floods.

“On April 6, I wrote personally to the Prime Minister calling for his immediate intervention on behalf of struggling local families in Coffs Harbour, Bellingen and Urunga and other areas that suffered,” Mr Hartsuyker said.

“The local floods had a devastating impact onthousands of people who are facing financial hardship as they clean up and try to rebuild their lives.

“I have received no reply whatsoever from the Prime Minister or his staff. All the Federal Government has done is to part fund the assistance coming from the NSW State Government.

“If the flood victims of Ingham deserved federal payments, then so do the flood victims of the Coffs Coast.

“We all know Kevin Rudd's a Queenslander but we expect him to be even-handed when it comes to helping people in wake of a disaster.

“The message he's sending is clear - it's one law for Queenslander flood victims and one law for everyone else.”

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