Disaster payments must be urgently increased to assist with flood fallout

28 February 2022

ACOSS, QCOSS and NCOSS are calling for the Federal Government to immediately increase the Disaster Recovery Payment to help people survive the massive hardships caused by flooding.

The current Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment is only $1000 per adult and $400 per child, and should be increased to $3000 per adult and $1000 per child. The adult payment has been only $1000 since 2006 and hasn’t been increased in 15 years.

Last weekend’s unprecedented rain has shown how vulnerable our communities are to the impacts of climate change.

The floods across Queensland and Northern New South Wales are leaving people without homes, food and water, transport and jobs to go to.

Once the mop up is under way many people will be homeless, or return to homes that have been ruined and cars that do not work.

ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said:

“The payment goes nowhere near meeting the cost of helping people survive and recover from the devastating loss of property and feeding themselves and their families.

“It’s always the people on the lowest incomes that get hurt the most during these emergencies.

“We’ve been warning the government since the bushfires that there is a need to increase disaster recovery payments as extreme weather events become more common.

“There’s no way we can crowdfund our way out of these disasters, the Government needs to step up and take responsibility for the effects of climate change on our communities.”

ACOSS has outlined the ways in which the government should put resources behind disaster relief, including through genuine community partnerships, in its recent Budget Priorities Statement.

QCOSS CEO Aimee McVeigh said:

“Queenslanders have experienced devastating flooding in the past 48 hours. People in lower lying areas are now facing the prospect of another brutal cleanup after another once-in-a-century flood. People in areas that have never experienced inundation are now reckoning with the fact that their homes are uninhabitable.

“$1,000 per adult will not cut it, especially in the face of a record breaking housing crisis.

“Our community organisations also need access to additional emergency relief funds now. They are on the ground sourcing emergency accommodation, providing food and supply packages and crucial mental health supports.”

NCOSS CEO Joanna Quilty said:

“This is a devastating situation unfolding across Northern NSW and it is vital that disaster payments are increased to better support affected communities.

“We also urge governments to work with local community organisations on the disaster response and properly resource these organisations to do the job we know they can do.

“Local organisations are on the ground, they know their communities, and they have knowledge and expertise that is vital to keeping people safe and supported during this emergency.”


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