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More disaster assistance flows to flood victims

More financial assistance begins to pour in for flood-impacted residents, as the deluge of the floods leaves hundreds of thousands of people affected.

The weather event that continues across the eastern parts of Australia has seen more than 1,600 mls fall over parts of South-East Queensland and Northern NSW in a six-day period (from 24 February to 1 March), sparking widespread flooding.

The damage bill is estimated to top $2 billion, driving financial support from all sectors.

Australia’s banks have announced options to defer loan repayments (home, personal or business) for up to 3 months for customers impacted by the flood disasters in NSW and Queensland, after the majors announced support packages earlier this week.

Depending on the person’s circumstance, assistance may include deferral of loan payments, fees and charges waived, debt consolidation, restructuring existing loans, additional finance to help support cash-flow shortages, and deferred credit repayments.

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While it will be a long, slow road to recovery for many, Australia Banking Association chief executive Anna Bligh hopes this will provide some “peace of mind”.

“Customers are encouraged to talk to their bank, as soon as they are able, and find out what assistance is available to get them through this tough time,” Ms Bligh said.

“Once the worst of the emergencies are over and the clean-ups begin, we want Australians who have been impacted to know their bank is ready with tailored support to assist as they recover.

“The message from banks is clear: don’t tough it out on your own, call your bank, they are ready to help.”

While immediate financial support from the banking sector will alleviate some financial stress in the short term, Queensland broker Dayna Hill is reminding customers that deferred payments can impact people’s lending capacity at a future date.

Government disaster support

The federal government has extended its disaster grants to the NSW North Coast, as well as South-East Queensland.

As part of the Disaster Recovery Payment, up to $1,000 per eligible adult and $400 per eligible child, are available for flood-impacted victims.

Meanwhile the Disaster Recovery Allowance is a separate payment for up to 13 weeks if you have lost income due to the floods.

Both Queensland and the NSW governments are also offering a one-off relief grant, for eligible people.

Support for first responders flows in

Additional to the previously announced deferral on loan payments for customers impacted by the floods, NAB has announced it will donate $100,000 each to Queensland Fire and Emergency Services and NSW SES.

“Large-scale natural disasters like this remind us of the risks volunteers face doing their job and the vital role they play keeping us safe during and after an event like a major flood,” NAB group executive personal banking, Rachel Slade said.

“The damage caused is already extensive, and with more challenging conditions in coming days, families and businesses will be hit hard.

“Our customers are reporting significant impacts, including severe damage to their farms, businesses and homes. We want to assure all of our customers and colleagues that we are ready to support you.”

[Related: Federal government offers grants as flooding disaster escalates]

More disaster assistance flows to flood victims
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