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Parliamentary Questions

Question Without Notice No. 122 asked in the Legislative Council on 20 February 2020 by Hon Jacqui Boydell

Parliament: 40 Session: 1

Answered on 20 February 2020

DISASTER RELIEF — TROPICAL CYCLONE DAMIEN

122. Hon JACQUI BOYDELL to the minister representing the Minister for Emergency Services:

I refer to the recently announced disaster relief funding to assist with the recovery effort after tropical cyclone Damien in Karratha.

(1) Please table any correspondence received relating to this matter from —

(a) the member for Pilbara; and

(b) the Premier.

(2) Will the minister please confirm which categories of the disaster relief funding will be provided to the affected areas?

(3) Will the minister provide some clarification on the following statement from the disaster relief website, which states, ''Assistance may be available for the following measures (where appropriate) typically covered by the'' disaster relief funding?

(4) Does the minister accept that this statement places undue and extra stress on people who are already in vulnerable positions as they attempt to navigate and understand their eligibility to receive funding?

Hon STEPHEN DAWSON replied:

I thank the honourable member for some notice of the question.

(1) At the request of the member for Pilbara, Mr Kevin Michel, the Minister for Emergency Services visited Karratha and Dampier in the aftermath of tropical cyclone Damien. Minister Logan and Mr Michel visited community members, local government and emergency services personnel. Mr Michel advocated strongly for every possible state government assistance to be extended to recovering Pilbara communities. The minister continued to update the Premier throughout the tropical cyclone. This will continue during the recovery.

(2) This assistance is currently available to impacted individuals within the proclaimed local governments, which include the Shire of Ashburton, City of Karratha, Town of Port Hedland and Shire of Meekatharra, as of 20 February 2020. Local governments in surrounding areas are being consulted to determine whether there are any impacts that would result in their inclusion in this event.

(3) A range of assistance measures are provided under the disaster recovery funding arrangements WA, and not all assistance measures are available for every disaster. The proclamation is made following preliminary assessments of damage; and as the scale of the impact becomes available as the clean-up and more detailed assessment of the event is undertaken. For example, category C is a community recovery package that is intended to support communities when there has been a severe impact. This includes assistance grants for primary producers. Not all events, however, impact primary producers and, as a result, this assistance would not be required. As a result, the proclamation needs to list all the possible assistance measures; however, due to the varying scale and nature of events, it is also important to note that these measures are available when appropriate. As the severity of an event becomes clear, additional assistance measures may be activated.

(4) It is understood that recovery following a disaster is difficult. To support people during this time, clear guidance and contact details are provided to assist people to contact the correct agency to determine what support is available. The Department of Fire and Emergency Services' DRFAWA team continues to liaise with local governments and agencies in impacted areas to guide them through the application of the DRFAWA. The team provides individuals or businesses with the necessary advice or appropriate contact details to access more information on assistance measures that may be available.