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Cyclone Ellie Flood Recovery Assistance Programs
When natural disasters wreak havoc on the natural landscape, particularly where cyclones and other extreme weather events are concerned, the immediate visual impact can be striking. Buildings without roofs, flooded homes and locals kayaking down the main street are typically what we associate with the aftermath of these events. What is sometimes forgotten, though, are the far-reaching consequences that flooding events have on businesses, both in the regions hit directly and communities they serve. When Ex Tropical Cyclone Ellie left a trail of damage, destruction, and flooding in the Kimberley region of WA in late 2022 and early 2023, many businesses were severely impacted. There are assistance programs now available for eligible businesses to help in the recovery effort following Ex Tropical Cyclone Ellie, and we’ve outlined below what you need to know.
Freight Assistance Programs
A freight assistance program has been established to help reduce the costs of freight for Kimberley-based businesses to assist with the additional costs associated with ongoing exceptional freight requirements for businesses impacted by Ex Tropical Cyclone Ellie. Freight costs have risen dramatically since the disaster as flooding has caused significant damage to vital infrastructure such as roads and bridges in the Kimberley region. The Freight Assistance Program aims to assist in mitigating the resulting economic impacts to Kimberly-based industries, businesses, and communities.
Per the Government’s guidelines: “The program will operate until a suitable road connection is re-established enabling normal freight routes to resume. In the event that road connections are not suitable for all classes of vehicles, the program may remain open on a limited basis.”
The assistance is based on additional costs arising from additional distance required to be travelled as a result of impacted transport infrastructure. Typically, a per-kilometre rate will be used to calculate the grant available to transport operator applicants, and for business applicants it will apply when delivering a whole load to one business. When part-loads are delivered to more than one business, a per-pallet rate may be employed. Note there is a cap on these grants – 200% of the pre-flood cost of transportation. Grants over and above this will require approval as an exceptional circumstance.
Rent Relief for Pastoralists
Pastoralists in the Kimberley region can apply for rent relief as part of the flood recovery assistance programs. Rent payments may be delayed for a period of time, reduced, or waived entirely where the lease of land has been adversely impacted by Ex TC Ellie. This can bring welcome relief to those farmers who have lost livestock, and therefore their primary source of income, as a result of the disaster.
- Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements WA (DRFAWA) have been activated, providing funding for specific recovery activities for eligible primary producers.
- State Support Plan for Animal Welfare in Emergencies: This plan enables Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) to lead the coordination of response efforts related to animal welfare. The plan is being implemented in association with Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES).
- Financial Support and Wellbeing: The impact of severe weather events and the destruction they cause can be detrimental to not only residents’ businesses and homes, but their mental health too. Support is available via the Rural Support Services Directory.
What to do Now
If your business has been adversely impacted by Ex TC Ellie, now is the time to determine which grants are available to you. A comprehensive guide to assistance programs now available, as well as other helpful links, can be found here. Furthermore, feel free to reach out to the accounting team at McKinley Plowman to see how we may be able to assist in the grants application process. You can call us on 08 9301 2200, or contact us via our website.
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