More than 1,200 Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel, two naval vessels and two aircraft have been deployed to disaster sites across North Queensland to assist in the aftermath of Tropical Cyclone Debbie.
In Question Time today, Northern based Government Senator Ian Macdonald asked the Defence Minister how the ADF is supporting the clean-up and recovery efforts in Mackay and the Whitsundays.
“The Minister has advised that more than 1,200 ADF personnel and resources, including the HMAS Melville and HMAS Choules, and two B300 King Air aircraft have been dispatched as part of a whole of government response to this disaster,” Senator Macdonald said.
HMAS Choules left Brisbane yesterday enroute to the Whitsunday Islands, loaded with humanitarian support, disaster relief stores and medical personnel.
Senator Macdonald said disaster assistance for the Mackay and Whitsunday communities has been escalated to include personal hardship, demolition and removal of debris, personal and financial counselling, restoration of essential public assets, and concessional interest rate loans and interest rate subsidies for small business, primary producers and voluntary non-profit organisations.
“Counter-disaster operations assistance through the jointly-funded Commonwealth State Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA) have been made available to all local authorities affected by the massive storm event, particularly Mackay and the Whitsundays,” Senator Macdonald said.
Senator Macdonald said any resident needing help should contact his office.
“If people are having trouble with their insurance, I encourage them to call my office on 4771 3066, for contact details for a national insurance support hotline. Those suffering financial hardship can visit the Australian Bankers Association’s website at http://www.doingittough.info/Your-Bank-s-Hardship-Team for more information.”
Information on the disaster assistance for this natural disaster can be found on the Australian Government’s Disaster assist website at https://www.disasterassist.gov.au/ and the Queensland Government’s Disaster management website at http://www.disaster.qld.gov.au.