The disaster assistance for flood affected communities across New South Wales has been announced  byMinister for Justice Michael Keenan and NSW Deputy Premier and Minister for Justice and Police Troy Grant.

Visiting the flood affected town of Forbes, Minister Keenan said assistance is being provided through the jointly-funded Commonwealth-State Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA).

“As we have seen here in Forbes today, heavy rainfall over recent weeks is having devastating impacts on local communities across New South Wales,” Mr Keenan said.

“Natural disasters are a fact of life in Australia, but the recovery process for these communities is a long one. That is why the Australian and New South Wales governments are committed to working together to ensure that those who have been impacted by these floods have the support they need to recover and rebuild.”

Minister Grant said a range of disaster assistance was now available to help communities across 21 local government areas.

“The assistance we are announcing today includes a range of practical measures to help affected individuals, small businesses, primary producers, and the local councils with their recovery efforts,” Mr Grant said.

“We are closely monitoring the flood situation and will make assistance available to other communities as required.”

Assistance under the NDRRA includes:

  • Help for eligible people whose homes or belongings have been damaged;
  • Support for affected local councils to help with the costs of cleaning up and restoring damaged essential public assets;
  • Concessional interest rate loans for small businesses, primary producers and not-for-profit organisations;
  • Freight subsidies for primary producers; and
  • Grants to not-for-profit organisations.

The 21 local government areas receiving NDRRA assistance are: Bathurst, Bland, Blayney, Cabonne, Coonamble, Cootamundra-Gundagai, Cowra, Forbes, Gilgandra, Hilltops, Lachlan, Mid-Western, Narromine, Orange, Parkes, Temora, Walgett, Warren, Warrumbungle, Western Plains and Yass Valley.

People watch the rising floodwater at Lake Forbes, Forbes, NSW. Photo: ABC News/Luke Wong

People watch the rising floodwater at Lake Forbes, Forbes, NSW. Photo: ABC News/Luke Wong

Retired NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Dave Owens has been appointed as the Regional Recovery Coordinator to oversee the clean-up and recovery effort.

‎Mr Owens will support local recovery efforts and lead the regional coordination efforts from all agencies to support communities to rebuild and recover as quickly as possible.

“I know first-hand the importance of getting affected communities back on their feet as soon as possible,” Mr Owens said.

“I’m looking forward to hitting the ground running to get the people of Forbes back to their normal way of life.”

For information on personal hardship and distress assistance, please contact the Disaster Welfare Assistance Line on 1800 018 444. To apply for a concessional loan, grant or freight subsidy, contact the NSW Rural Assistance Authority on 1800 678 593 or visitraa.nsw.gov.au.

Information on the assistance available in response to this disaster is available at disasterassist.gov.au and emergency.nsw.gov.au.