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Federal government offers grants, as ‘flooding disaster’ escalates

The federal government has announced financial support is available for flood-impacted victims, as major flooding continues in South-East Queensland and the NSW North Coast.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Queenslanders impacted by the unfolding “flooding disaster” can apply for up to $1,000 per eligible adult and $400 per eligible child, as part of the government’s Disaster Recovery Payment (AGDRP), from Monday (28 February).

The payment is a “one-off”, non-means-tested payment and is available to eligible people in impacted local government areas who have suffered a “significant loss”, such as a severely damaged or destroyed home or serious injury.

In a statement Mr Morrison said: “We are closely monitoring the flood emergency and we expect further Commonwealth assistance to be extended to other impacted regions and local government areas as the flood impact is known.

“Australian Defence Force personnel continue to support the emergency response efforts and will do more once the water recedes and the recovery effort starts.”

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While the government is yet to announce support for NSW North Coast residents, eligible Queenslanders in Gympie and North Burnett can claim support via myGov.

Mr Morrison said further flood-affected local government areas are expected to be added in coming days, as the damage becomes clear.

Majors offer financial assistance 

All four major banks have launched financial assistance measures for customers impacted by the unfolding flooding events. 

NAB is offering $1,000 grants to Queensland customers who have experienced “significant damage” to their homes, or business and agriculture customers who have suffered damage or losses from the floods. 

NAB financial support on offer includes:

  • Immediate access to $1,000 grants to help cover costs such as temporary accommodation, food and clothing (eligibility criteria applies)
  • $1,000 business grants to help restart or reopen and cover the cost of damaged property, equipment, fencing – and for loss of stock or livestock
  • Credit card and personal loan relief
  • Waiving the establishment fee for restructuring business facilities
  • ​​​​​​​Concessional loans to customers seeking support to restructure existing facilities to assist in repairs, restocking and re-=opening for business
  • Reducing and moratorium on home and personal loan repayments

NAB’s group executive personal banking, Rachel Slade, said: “We know that being there for our impacted customers right now is important, but we also know we have a role to play in the long-term recovery.

“We are also providing NAB colleagues with emergency grants who have experienced damage to their homes, while they continue to support their local customers during these floods.

“Many of our branches have also been impacted and we encourage customers in impacted areas to call NAB Assist.”

ANZ is encouraging customers in Queensland and parts of northern NSW to contact their bank to access relief packages, including a short-term payment relief on home loans, credit cards and personal loans.

ANZ’s relief package measures on offer include: 

  • Short-term payment relief on home loans, credit cards, personal loans and some business loans (they may still charge interest during this period)
  • Waiving fees for restructuring business loans
  • Waiving fees for accessing term deposits early

ANZ general manager Queensland, Jacqueline Auf der Maur said: “We urge everyone in the affected areas to stay safe and look after each other, including all the brave emergency services personnel, as it seems we are unfortunately not yet through this event.

“When the time is right, ANZ will be there to help and we encourage customers to contact us when they are ready so we can provide some support through this devastating time.”

The Commonwealth Bank said as part of its “emergency assistance”, customers in Queensland and northern NSW can access a range of support services, including: 

  • Customised payment arrangements for home loan, credit card, personal loan and some business loans
  • Waiving fees and charges
  • Temporary overdrafts, additional loans or emergency credit limit increases (subject to credit approval)
  • Waiving fees and notice periods for early access to term deposits
  • For CommInsure customers, assistance with emergency accommodation, if their home has been damaged
  • Loan restructuring for business customers and existing loans
  • Waiving fees for temporary and damaged merchant EFTPOS terminals, as well as support with merchant terminal rental fees
  • We can also expedite claims to CommInsure for customers seeking help through their home and contents insurance

The Commonwealth Bank’s retail banking services group executive, Angus Sullivan said: “Our thoughts are with everyone impacted by the major flooding in communities across South-East Queensland and New South Wales.

“Dangerous conditions like this can cause a lot of distress and we want to alleviate some of that worry by offering a range of support measures to impacted customers.”

Finally, Westpac’s emergency support package for customers includes home and business loan deferrals and emergency credit card relief.

Westpac and St.George customers affected by floods could be able to access:

  • Deferred repayments on home loans for up to three months
  • Deferred repayments on credit cards, where they can apply to defer repayments to their card for up to 90 days
  • Personal loans at a discounted interest rate with no establishment fee, for those wishing to purchase replacement goods
  • Waived interest rate adjustments for those wishing to withdraw term deposits
  • A halt on all interest accrual on unsecured credit products for a period of up to three months
  • Defer repayments on business loans for up to three months
  • Loan restructuring for existing business loans without incurring the usual bank establishment fees
  • Assistance for affected business customers with merchant facilities, including monthly terminal access fee waivers for up to three months

Ross Miller, chief customer engagement officer at Westpac commented Westpac and St.George said while safety should be everyone’s first priority, we want our customers to know that when they need financial support, we have our customer teams standing by ready to respond.

[Related: Westpac offers financial support to flood-hit customers]

Federal government offers grants, as ‘flooding disaster’ escalates
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