Support is now available for businesses and individuals in local government areas (LGAs) declared natural disaster zones following the recent NSW flood events.
And, Cessnock is one of 38 councils currently included in the joint state and federal declaration, making it eligible for financial assistance along with Kempsey, Port Macquarie-Hastings, Newcastle, Central Coast and many more LGAs.
Business and industry assistance is accessible in the form of concessional interest rate loans for small businesses, primary producers and non-profit organisations; freight subsidies for primary producers; non-profit organisation grants; insurance assistance; legal support; livestock and animal welfare support; and mental health support.
Individual financial help is offered in the form of a one-off Disaster Recovery Payment; a 13-week Disaster Recovery Allowance; a Disaster Relief Grant for those who have extensive property damage; and mental health support.
For councils, grant funding to alleviate the costs of cleaning up and restoring damaged public assets is available, too.
Support is also provided through the Local Government Emergency Recovery Support Group, a special council-to-council service that has been reactivated by Resilience NSW following the 2019-20 fires.
Cessnock City mayor Bob Pynsent welcomed the announcement and is encouraging residents to investigate their options.
“It’s been such a rough time for our community over the past week so it’s great to know that affected individuals, businesses and organisations have access to the support they need,” he said.
Council’s general manager Lotta Jackson also praised the declaration.
“When it comes to recovery, practical assistance is what people need and this will help impacted community members get back on their feet,” she said.
Further information on disaster assistance is available on the Australian Government’s Disaster Assist website at www.disasterassist.gov.au and Service NSW at www.disasterassistance.service.nsw.gov.au
You can also contact the Disaster Customer Care Service on 13 77 88.
To apply for a concessional loan or grant, contact the NSW Rural Assistance Authority on 1800 678 593 or visit www.raa.nsw.gov.au