Flood victims struggle to access
government relief funding
After months of frustration and waiting, residents in Spencer have only just begun to have access to the ‘Back Home’ grant payments sponsored by the State and Commonwealth Governments to help flood victims replace the essentials that were lost in the February floods.
3 June 2022
THE ‘Back Home’ flood grant is part of a $112 million package providing one-off payments of $20,000 for owner-occupiers, $15,000 for landlords, and $5000 for renters across the identified flood-affected Local Government Areas.
For Bianca Hudson, the funding came only after months of back and forth with government agencies and delays in the Central Coast being identified as a disaster-affected region. While residents on the other side of the Hawkesbury River were almost immediately able to access funding, for Spencer residents like Ms. Hudson the wait was much longer.
“My home was flooded on the 21st of February and I only just got access to the funding. While I am thankful, what has been the most frustrating is the lack of a logical thought process in how the Government responded by offering relief based on Local Government Areas rather than where the flood actually hit.
“It was so difficult to get enough of the documents and the specific documents they were asking for. When you’re facing a flood, the last thing you are thinking about is getting your identity documents – you’re thinking ‘I need to get life-jackets for my children.’ You’re in survival mode.”
Member for Gosford, Liesl Tesch, says it is outrageous that not only were residents on the Central Coast denied access to funding, many who had lost identity documents and needed to apply for the funding were left stranded.
“Yet again the Central Coast has been a blind spot in the Liberal Government’s disaster management plans. I have been working tirelessly to ensure that all locals that have been impacted by the floods are able to access the resources they need to recover,” said Ms. Tesch
For Bianca Hudson, this will help to get her family’s life and living situation back on track after months of disruption.
“What people don’t realise is that we in Spencer did not have access to power for weeks after, which means we didn’t have water to shower, to use the bathroom, for anything. My home was also two metres under water so now we need to renovate to remove all the mould that has grown,” Ms. Hudson said.
“After a flood, you find your entire history is gone. And you begin a process on how I get this back. The support needs to be immediate. Other communities had resources to support them, yet we didn’t.”
For more information on eligibility and process to apply for the flood recovery Back Home grant, visit www.service.nsw.gov.au/transaction/apply-flood-recovery-back-home-grant.
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